Carmen - Chisinau National Opera

MICHAEL DRAKE Norwich Theatre Royal

MICHAEL DRAKE

> Norwich Theatre Royal

The opening surprise is the lack of traditional red in this production, but there is plenty of fire particularly in a passionate and emotional climax to the end of Act Two.

Here, Don Jose (Igor Macarenco) sings his heart out at last, having hitherto been vocally inconsistent while Carmen (Nedejda Stoianova) continued with majestically flashing mezzo-soprano and a performance to savour in looks and sound.

Earlier Micaela (Irina Vinogradova) had pleaded her cause in beautifully clear, almost reticent, soprano terms.

But first, enter the sexy cigarette girls in sparkling white and the whole chorus, fighting women and peacemaking soldiers were extremely strong.

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At times, the small stage was inhibiting of their movements, although Felix Bessanov's sets added much realism.

There were, too, some excellent smaller ensembles for instance when Carmen joins the smugglers.

Escamillo then causes a rift and Iuri Gisca - splendidly clad - struts through the part using his fine,

strong baritone to woo a now scarlet Carmen.

There were a few imbalances in some parts, the Orchestra lacked “body” at times, but his was a thoroughly entertaining and convincingly sung and dramatised performance - though there could've been some blood on the fatal dagger.

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