Musical director Joann Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra concluded the 2018-19 Classics season on June 2 with a performance of the opera “Carmen”.
When Georges Bizet premiered his operatic masterpiece in 1875, it received very negative reviews. Dying months after its debut, Bizet never learned how popular his work would become. Today, it is considered to be one of the best operas ever written and is the most popular opera in the world.
Noting that they wanted to end the season on a special note, Falletta tapped Fredonia University Opera Professor Julie as director for the production.
Using contemporary costumes and minimal stage props; Tamara Gura, Kyle van Schoonhoven, Alexandra Deshortes, MIchael J Hawk, Valerian Ruminski, Lucia Hilgren, Amanda Lynn Bottoms, James Judd, James Wright, and Brandon Mecklenburg performed the four act opera using not only the stage but the whole auditorium, at times running through the aisles and even singing from within the audience.
For some of the performers it was a bit of a homecoming after hailing from western New York before moving on to The Met and other operatic companies.
Performed in its original French, the English translations appeared on the screen overhead. Instead of using musical transitions, “Carmen” includes a bit of dialogue which was spoken in English.
At some two and a half hours, it made for a long but pleasant afternoon of music to end the BPO’s Classical Music season.