Opera Scotland

Carmen 1986Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Carmen

One of the features of Scottish Opera’s early years was the apparent reluctance of management to put on some of the more obviously popular operas in the repertoire, perhaps because they had featured in the repertoire of Sadler's Wells on tour. Traviata waited nearly ten years, and Rigoletto and Trovatore longer still. Tosca was not staged until 1980, nearly twenty years on. As for Carmen, there was inevitably talk that the company should take over the memorable 1977 Edinburgh Festival staging by Piero Faggioni. While that would have been a distinct coup, a performance without Berganza and Domingo would have been very different.

As it was, Graham Vick accepted the challenge, and produced a staging which was very patchy, but had some excellent ideas. The acting area, essentially a plain black box, contained a circle of simple chairs for the chorus to sit on - clearly a bull-ring of sorts. There was a revolve, exploited to the full in the final scene, where the chorus entry and march was unusually effective, helped by expert lighting. Mauceri's conducting showed genuine flair, but the cast was dramatically under-projected, and this staging actually improved significantly on revival.

While the decision to perform in English made sense, the new version prepared by Anthony Burgess was not much better than his contribution to Vick's production of Oberon the year before, and it has not been taken up elsewhere. The Wexford discovery Sergei Leiferkus, in an otherwise excellent reading, was not the only singer to struggle with it.

Performance Cast

Moralès a corporal of dragoons

Mark Tinkler (Exc Oct 11)

Jonathan Hawkins (Oct 11)

Micaëla a peasant girl

Jane Leslie MacKenzie

Don José a corporal of dragoons

Gary Bachlund

Zuniga a lieutenant of dragoons

Jonathan Best

Carmen a gypsy

Emily Golden

Frasquita a gypsy, Carmen’s friend

Rosa Mannion

Mercédès a gypsy, Carmen’s friend

Jenny Miller

Lillas Pastia an innkeeper

John Eastham

Escamillo a toreador

Sergei Leiferkus

Dancaïre a smuggler

Robert Dean

Remendado a smuggler

Paul Harrhy

Merchant

Carol Rowlands

Officer

Winton Thomson

Gypsy

Jonathan Hawkins (Exc Oct 11)

Graeme Danby (Oct 11)

Performance DatesCarmen 1986

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

30 Sep, 19.15 4 Oct, 14.15 11 Oct, 19.15 16 Oct, 19.15 24 Oct, 19.15 27 Oct, 19.15

Kings Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

11 Nov, 19.15 14 Nov, 19.15

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

19 Nov, 19.15 22 Nov, 19.15

Tyne Theatre | Newcastle-upon-Tyne

25 Nov, 19.15 29 Nov, 19.15

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