Review: Carmen at Portsmouth Guildhall

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We were treated to all the passion and fire of Spain and the bullfight by the Russian State Ballet and Opera House’s production of Bizet’s Carmen.

Sung in French, with English subtitles, the opera tells of the story of the vivacious but fickle gipsy Carmen and her love affairs with loyal soldier Jose and matador Escamillo, which eventually ends in tragedy.

Accompanied by the orchestra under the direction of Azat Maksutov, the production was full of all the colour and life expected of this classic.

Whilst sometimes a little lacking in acting skills, the company more than made up for this with superb singing.

Taking their audience along with them in this tale of love and loss were Galina Malikova, in the lead role as Carmen, her rich mezzo-soprano voice filling the auditorium with the joys of life, Mikhail Makarov (tenor) skilfully playing the lovestruck Jose with both tenderness and rage, and Vladimir Tselebrovskiy (baritone) as the arrogant and assured Escamillo.

The charged atmosphere of Carmen was maintained by the chorus, brilliantly performing the harmonies and melodies that make this opera so watchable. Several encores later, and still humming the Toreador’s Song, the audience left thoroughly entertained.