Anita Rachvelishvili plays Carmen with a proud, strutting feminism, while Alain Coloumbe, right, is a highlight of the Canadian Opera Company production and Russell Thomas, left, has a tone that nods toward a young Pavarotti.
Scheduled to appear on alternate showdays, as do many of the other principals during the course of the production’s extended run, mezzo soprano Anita Rachvelishvili invests the opera’s proud, ferociously independent title character with a pronounced streak of anti-heroism. This is a cunning Carmen, author of her own agenda, haughty, impulsive, fundamentally indifferent to men, less flirty femme fatale than fighter for her own freedom. Rachvelishvili commands her every scene, singing with supreme confidence, her sultry, captivating instrument superbly well-tuned to Bizet’s sublime score. Her seductive Près des ramparts de Séville, the always eagerly anticipated seguidilla that closes Act I, is as assertive as it is slinky.
Bizet's "Carmen" is one of the most popular operas in the repertoire and one that also possesses some of the most popular melodies in classical music. On the night of Oct. 14, the Metropolitan Opera presented Bizet's work with a twist. The tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko, who was scheduled to perform Don Jose, cancelled due to illness and Brandon Jovanovich took over on short notice, even though he is currently rehearsing Shostakovich's extremely taxing work "Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk."
Anita Rachvelishvili recently performed the title role in Carmen broadcast by The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD. Here she drops by for a little chat with our Maria Nockin.