Sunday 2 November 2014

Carmen in Madrid 2014-10-25

This time a flight to Oslo in the evening. Hotel near Gardermoen. The flight was so late so I had only time to just go to bed and sleep. Then early up and bus to Gardermoen. From Oslo via Frankfurt to Madrid and then to the hotel with hotel bus. So 1700 in hotel and I thought I might have time to eat before Zarzuela at 1900. I decided to take taxi directly to the Theatre and there look for somewhere to eat. But I had to survive on the Lufthansa meal. And of course the 3 pretzels I bought in Frankfurt airport was great to have. 

After La Zarzuela I took taxi to the Hotel, then right to bed. Early morning hotel bus to airport. First I thought 7 would be early enough, my flight was 0830 and I had nothing to check in. But I got nerves so I choose 6 (hotel bus to airport only early hour from 0400). 7 would have been OK, but at least no stress this way. With just a short stay in Frankfurt I needed to go out quickly, a woman shoved me hard in the stomach as I was just stepping forward and she was still in her row. I found that rude and strange behaviour, never experienced that before. And she did that while complaining about the people who was just trying nicely to exit the plane. Many had other flights like I had. No time to say or do anything just go and find my flight to Oslo. Eating and waiting in Oslo until my flight back home. Home 21 on Sunday.

2014-10-25 Carmen (G. Bizet), Teatro de la Zarzuela (Madrid)

Carmen = María José Montiel
Don José = Javier Palacios*
Escamillo = Rubén Amoretti
Micaëla = Sabina Puértolas
Zuniga = Francisco Tójar
Moralès = David Rubiera
El Donairo = Javier Galán
El Remendado = Néstor Losán
Frasquita = Isabel Rodríguez García
Mercédès = Marifé Nogales
CURRO FLORES = José Vicente Ramos
UN GUÍA = Juan Pedro Schwartz

Yi-Chen Lin, conductor
Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid
Coro del Teatro de La Zarzuela
Antonio Fauró

Dirección de escena - Ana Zamora
Escenografía - Richard Cenier
Vestuario - Deborah Macías

Zarzuela en cuatro actos, basada en la ópera cómica de Ludovic Halévy y Henri Meilhac
Traducción de Eduardo de Bray

Estrenada en el Teatro-Circo Alegría de Barcelona, el 7 de abril de 1890
Nueva producción del Teatro de la Zarzuela

10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 23, 25, 26, 29, 30 y 31 de octubre de 2014
19:00 horas (domingos, a las 18:00 horas)

JAVIER PALACIOS as DON JOSE in replacement for Jose Ferrer who was not well.

Yes that was the announcement that started this Carmen in Madrid's Teatro de la Zarzuela. And a great Don Jose he was, this Javier Palacios on Saturday, October 25th, 2014. Maria Jose Montiel was Carmen just as expected. 

This was not the usual Carmen, this was an opera turned zarzuela but for me it was nothing like a true zarzuela just Carmen sung and spoken in Spanish. No Lillas Pastia here, in this Carmen he was names Curro Flores. Here the spoken dialogue was in Spanish almost the same as the original French but expanded to more dialogue and more realistic in then Spanish version. But in this version I could here no doubt the music was French. Strange that when sung in French I could feel it spanishness and only lose Spain and suddenly be in France in the dialogue.

Zarzuela it might not be but the cast was strong with Maria Jose Montiel as a great Carmen, Javier Palacios also in great voice and believable as Don Jose. Sabina Puértolas as Micaela was a wonder as a strong Spanich Micaela. Rubén Amoretti was a rather usual Escamillo when compared to Montiel, Palacias and Puertolas. Francisco Tójar as Zuniga and David Rubiera as Morales were both great actors and singers.

Ana Zamora as stage director created a bright colored Carmen but her idea was that Carmen was to be very feminine but not feministic. That sound like someone who thinks that feminists can not be feminine. She tried to make Carmen into something "more" by setting each act into a newer time so Carmen ended in the 1960s or so. But Carmen can very well be a femistic idol, she rules her own and no man can make her different. Don Jose is a man still very much in the paternalistic pattern, his idea of honor, and he thinks Carmen can be become his help mate. He never listens to her views or believe in them as real. In the end he can only look at Carmen as an Idol or a Demon. Don Jose never sees himself as a man who chooses, so he think he has to kill her when she refuses to save him from himself. Micaela is a brave woman even if she fears Carmen. She never gives up. The soldiers street harassment of Micaela as young, unprotected girl (17)  walks into Sevilla to ask after Don Jose, the officer. Escamillo, the cynic, is he really that much better than the other men, or is he is just the benevolent sexist. And what would really be Carmen's story if Jose did not kill her? Maybe we should also ask how happy would Micaela  and Don Jose be together if Carmen never happened to them. What would be Micaela's story?

Bright colored Carmen, sweetly done, but still no layers here in Ana Zamora's zarzuela version of Carmen. Still: Viva Espana!!!

For reviews from my travels, see