Dance has always been part of the gesamkunstwerk(total work of art) that is opera, usually as a way to spell the singers. (See Broadway’s “The Phantom of the Opera,” in which the dancers often distract the audience within the musical from the Phantom’s mischief-making – or not.) Sometimes the dancers are an impediment, as in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s recent “Orphée et Eurydice.” But a number of productions at The Metropolitan Opera this season have been using dance to great effect. The company’s dancers provided hedonistic entertainment for the party guests in Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata” in December. And they, along with the singers, serve up some hot flamenco in the tavern scene in Georges Bizet’s “Carmen,” which we saw at City Center 15: Cinema De Lux in White Plains.
It was a spirited performance, led by conductor Louis Langrée, with mezzo-soprano Clémentine Margaine as the title gypsy who lives for herself; tenor Roberto Alagna as Don José, the officer whose obsession with her proves their downfall; bass Alexander Vinogradov as Escamillo, the toreador who comes between them; and Aleksandra Kurzak as Micaëla, the small-town girl José spurns for Carmen. But the production really came alive in the tavern scene, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, who also contributes a couple of incisive pas de deux for the interludes that foreshadow the fatal passion to come.
“Carmen” will be re-simulcast Wednesday, Feb. 6 and Saturday, Feb. 9 in select theaters. There are three operas remaining in this season’s “Live in HD” series – Gaetano Donizetti’s romantic comedy “La Fille du Régiment” (March 2); Richard Wagner’s epic “Die Walküre” (March 30) and “Dialogues des Carmélites” (May 11), Francis Poulenc’s opera of courage and redemption during the French Revolution.
For more, visit metopera.org.
– Georgette Gouveia