www.hastingsonlinetimes.co.uk     Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

An exciting production by Fraser Davis

Opera South East paints town red

Passion turns to jealousy. Hope turns to despair. Order turns to anarchy. Beneath the blazing sun, a bull is slaughtered for sport, as outside the arena a gypsy girl lies dead, murdered by her jealous lover. Passion and brutality dance hand in hand in a spectacular, full-scale production of ‘Carmen’ at the White Rock Theatre on the 24 and 25 October.

With its dramatic plot and thrilling score, Carmen is probably the most popular opera in the world, but director Fraser Grant brings a fresh approach and perhaps a more feminist realization to this production, set in Seville in the late 1800s.

Gemma Morsley plays Carmen and Chris Elliott Don José

Carmen is an incredibly superstitious woman, who puts all her faith in the cards. When these predict her impending death, she accepts this and makes no attempt to prevent it. We know from the start she is a fighter, and outside the bullring, Carmen dismisses the warnings of Don Jose’s presence and seeks to confront him. Carmen makes no attempt to escape; it is as if she is hurrying along her fate, choosing her moment to die, staying in command to the end. So, while Don Jose is unhinged and carrying a knife, does he actually murder her? Or does Carmen manipulate him to fulfil the cards’ prediction? And by so doing, does she also set up the death of Don Jose, knowing that he will be executed for her murder? In the end, neither can survive without the other. Come find out why!

Director, Fraser Grant, once again brings his expertise to the company this autumn following, last year’s beautiful and

Don José in a tussle with Zuniga (Barnaby Beer)

powerful, ‘Madam Butterfly’. Kenneth Roberts conducts The Sussex Concert Orchestra. The company are joined by several new soloists including the exciting Gemma Morsley in the title role (Opera Holland Park, Merry Opera Company, Opera Loki, Zeist Opera Festival, Oyster Opera)and Chris Elliott as Don Jose, a graduate of the RSAMD Opera School and described by ‘Opera Now Magazine’ as “a voice of rare beauty (used) to excellent effect as Ottavio. His recitative delivery was utterly delightful and worth the ticket price alone…His performance…leads me to the conclusion that this must be one of the best voices to have come out of the RSAMD for some time”.

Sung in English with full orchestra and chorus. Fraser Grant directs and Kenneth Roberts conducts the Sussex Concert Orchestra. The cast is as follows:

Carmen – Gemma Morsley              Don Jose – Chris Elliott
Micaela – Anna Goodhew                 Escamillo – Mike Barber
Frasquita – Julia Bovee                     Zuniga – Barnaby Beer
Mercedes – Lesley Moore                 Morales and Dancairo – Rene Bloice-Sanders
And Hiroshi Kanasawa as Remendado

Opera South East presents Bizet’s ‘Carmen’ at
The White Rock Theatre, White Rock Hastings TN34 1JX
24 and 25 October at 7.30pm.
Tickets  £20, £16 and £12, concessions £2 off, accompanied under 16s free. Booking fee applies. Phone 01424 462288 or book online. There will be a pre-show talk at 6pm on Saturday, free of charge to all ticket holders from either evening.

Posted 18:02 Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014 In: Music & Sound


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