OperaUpClose tackles a repertory favourite in their new summer production
OperaUpClose specialises in creating small scale productions to tour to small theatres and studio spaces. Their intimate stagings provide revealing insights into plot and character and they’ve now taken on a number of repertory warhorses including La bohème, Don Giovanni and La traviata. This summer Artistic Director Robin Norton-Hale is taking Bizet’s ever-popular Carmen and, in her own adaptation, setting it in a torrid South American landscape of dust and concrete, where small-town boredom and machismo can turn nasty. Composer Harry Blake, who works with the company regularly, is providing an orchestration for a quartet of strings, woodwind and percussion.
The Carmen story is very familiar but when the opera was first performed her role as a fearless, strong-willed and very individual woman was not. She is an anti-heroine, flawed and fascinating, who captivates and provokes. Sparks fly when she meets José, but her passion cools, whilst his turns to obsession. Although the opera was written in 1875 Carmen is one of the most contemporary of heroines: she will not give up her freedom for anyone.
OperaUpClose’s production of Carmen opens at the Soho theatre, London on August 5 where it remains until September 19.