Carmen (Arquez)


Georges Bizet Carmen opera to libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy. Directed 2017 by Kasper Holten at the Bregenz Festival (lake stage). Stars Gaëlle Arquez (Carmen), Daniel Johansson (Don José), Scott Hendricks (Escamilio), Elena Tsallagova (Micaëla), Jana Baumeister (Frasquita), Marion Lebègue (Mercédès), Sébastien Soules (Zuniga), Rafael Fingerlos (Moralès), Simeon Esper (Remendado), and Dariusz Perczak (Dancaïre). Paolo Carignani conducts the Wiener Symphoniker, Bregenz Festival Choir, Prague Philharmonic Choir, and the Children's Choir of Musikmittelschule Bregenz-Stadt. Stage design by Es Devlin; video design by Luke Halls; costume design by Anja Vang Kragh, lighting design by Bruno Poet; video direction by Felix Breisach. Released in 2017, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

Hugo Shirley, writing in the February 2018 Gramophone at pages 84-85, warns that this production cuts the opera by about an hour so that it seems like a "series of staged highlights" with one Act that almost got rained out. Shirley is full of praise for Gaëlle Arquez as a Carmen "wrapping all and sundry around her little finger."  Otherwise, he suggests, "the drama offers little of the three-dimensional grandeur we get from the set."

Well, these events at the lake are not made to be taken too seriously. Find out how to tell your fortune in the water. See the cards that poor Carmen turned over, and then see Carmen drown! All this reminds us that shows at massive outdoor venues are a lot of fun to go to, but they don't necessarily make great videos for home viewing.

There's a bunch of clips on YouTube showing dancers splashing around, but none seem to be official from C Major. Es Devlin, the famous designer of the set, is a better thief (of shows) than Carmen, Remendado, and Dancaïre put together. So here are a couple of clips focusing on Es and her stage as the star.