Tuesday, July 11, 2017


L-R: Adriano Graziani and Emily Pulley ( Photo credit: Amanda Tipton)


This reviewer has seen Carmen performed by Central City Opera at least four times in the past 20 years, and although each production excelled, this production outshines them all.
     One of the reasons this production of Carmen is so successful, is that director Jose Maria Condemi has cast the show’s four principal characters with singers who are also talented actors.
     Emily Pulley’s portrayal of Carmen is luminous. Her passionate acting is exquisitely nuanced and her vocals transcendent. Ms. Pulley performs the fiery Habanera from Act One with indelible brio!
     Baritone Michael Mayes, who stunned audiences in the previous two seasons at CCO as Joseph de Rocher in “Dead Man Walking” and then as the heinous Scarpia in “Tosca,” rivets as the adored bullfighter ,Escamillo. Maes’ rousing rendition of the “Toreador Song” from Act Two is powerful!
      As Don Jose, the soldier that tantalizing Carmen seduces - and ultimately ruins - Adriano Graziani stuns!
     In her brilliant portrayal of Micaela,Don Jose’s childhood sweetheart,
 Angela Mortellaro’s soaring soprano intoxicates.
     The choral work is powerful! How could it be otherwise with a chorus full of soloists from CCO’s training program for young opera singers?
      Under the baton of conductor Adam Turner, the luscious Central City Opera orchestra is always in synch with the actors/singers onstage and never overpowers the vocals.
     Shocking and scandalizing its first audiences at its opening in 1875, Bizet felt that Carmen was a failure when he died suddenly after its 33rd performance. According to opera historian James Anderson, Tchaikovsky correctly predicted that Bizet’s Carmen “would be the most popular of operas in ten years.”
     In a recent interview Pelham (Pat) Pearce, the General/Artistic Director of Central City Opera, described Bizet’s “Carmen” as “the gateway drug to opera.”
     He’s right! Whether opera virgin or jaded critic, “Carmen” is a heart-pounding mesmerizer so full of beloved arias that it makes one hunger to experience more of this great Art.
     This production comes with high recommendations from this critic’s desk.

                 Not to be missed! 

                 Marlowe's Musings

The Central City opera house is located at 124 Eureka Street, Central City, Colorado,80427.

For tickets go online at centralcityopera.org or call 303-292-6700.

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