"Carmen" - The Review
Here's a review that doesn't do you much good (hey, it's the speciality of the house). That's because the opera "Carmen," which runs one show Saturday night at Charleston's Clay Center, is virtually sold out (the last I heard, there were 17 seats left).
Still, my pal Mark Hayes managed to score a press pass for me, and I caught last night's dress rehearsal. (You can read more about the show in this previous post.)
Now, for those who don't know it, "Carmen" is an honest-to-goodness opera. I worried that, being a heathen who hadn't seen a "real" opera performance in decades, I'd sit there thinking about which Bugs Bunny cartoon each song originally appeared in. Happily, that wasn't the case - the show is so amazing, so riveting, that you spend most of it in awe of the talent on display.
When you think of community theatre, you picture modest sets and amateur performers - but there was none of that in evidence. The performers were amazing. I'm not sure the leads even needed microphones, as their powerful, pure voices rang out through the theater. Playing the title role is nationally-known soprano Christina Nassif, and she has an incredible voice.
The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra provided the music, and they were incredible! A top-notch, thoroughly professional production - their performance alone was worth the cost of admission.
Add to it amazing sets and costumes, and you have a performance that managed something I would have thought impossible - it made me enjoy opera!
Now, for you non-opera fans, yes, the show is long - it runs about three hours, with two intermissions thrown in - and yes, they're not singing in English, but the production has thoughtfully provided translations, courtesy of a projection at the top of the stage. Still, I guarantee you'll have a great time.
So if you get the opportunity, go and get some culture! You don't often get a chance like this, and trust me - it doesn't hurt a bit. "Carmen" gets my highest recommendation!