If Julia Roberts could go to the opera in the movie Pretty Woman and Dan Aykroyd had tickets for the opera La Boheme, then why couldn’t I add an opera to my Bucketlist of things that I wanted to do before I leave this earth?
Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Teatro Lirico D’Europa – Carmen at the Times Union Center Performing Arts and discovered that what I thought was going to be something that I wasn’t going to be able to understand, was totally comprehensible. Nonetheless, the theater only had a few patrons in attendance compared to the usual theater goers.
The opera may have been spoken in French, yet, instead of subtitles, there was a screen above the stage (supertitles) that had a brief synopsis of what the singers/actors were saying. This made the whole operatic experience understandable and more enjoyable.
Teatro Lirico D’Europa – Carmen had wonderful costumes and the singing was fabulous. The main characters, Viara Zhelezove (Carmen), Simon Kyung Lee (Don Jose), Olga Oriovskaya (Micaela) along with the entire ensemble were superb in their vocal excellence as they sang behind a marvelous live orchestra under the direction of maestro Krassimir Topolov. There were no visible microphone; just sheer volume coming from each artist.
Besides having a magnificent voice, Viara Zhelezova is in exceptional physical condition and has some nice ‘guns’. The actress Carmen is fierce and feisty. The opera has drama, yet there is a little bit of comedy and the ending is excellent. She got what she deserved.
If your desire is to see an opera and you don’t understand other languages, don’t allow the language barrier to keep you from a unique experience.
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