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Carmen – Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Written by Veronika Zapletalova and Matilda Andersson
28th November 2019

On Tuesday evening Carmen, the opera by Georges Bizet, was brilliantly performed at the Mayflower theatre. This was under a new production by Jo Davies. Before the opera started, we were amazed by the theatre’s interiors, which corresponded with the play perfectly. Even if this was done unintentionally, it certainly enhanced the overall experience. The opera runs for 2 hours and 55 minutes with one interval. However, the show was so entertaining and gripping that the three hours just flew by.

The opera has 4 acts and is sang in French. But for those of you who does not speak French, you don’t need to worry, because during the whole performance the English subtitles are screened. When a soldier José meets the gypsy Carmen, he immediately falls in love with her. The seductress Carmen gets in fight with another woman. Afterwards, she is arrested. Carmen offers to José that she’ll love him if he helps her to escape and the infatuated José agrees to do so. This deal sends José to jail. After two months José gets out of the jail and Carmen is waiting for him. On the day of his release, Carmen meets a toreador Escamillo who also falls in love with her, but she rejects him. Everything seems to have a happy ending, but José finds out that his mother is dying, so he must leave. In the final act, everything escalates, and the last scene will leave you shocked.

The leading actress does a wonderful job portraying the seductive and determined Carmen. The actor who plays José is not just a great actor but also an unbelievable singer. Last but not least, the Welsh orchestra does an incredible job with the music, led by its conductor Tomáš Hanus. During the performance you will definitely enjoy the recognisable aria Habanera or the Toreador song.

The overall impression keeps you in an astonishment of how modern and enjoyable the production feels. Carmen is a must-see opera for everyone who loves music and theatre. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been to an opera before or not, you will fall in love with Carmen, as everyone does.

By Veronika Zapletalova, Matilda Andersson

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