I was gifted two tickets for this performance in exchange for my honest review. This is no way influences my opinions below.
There is just something about the opera that holds a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s the costumes, or the captivating storylines or just the sheer magic of the music…whatever the answer, I love it. I will happily go to the opera at any chance I can so when I was offered tickets to see Opera North’s production of Carmen at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal, I jumped at the chance.
While Carmen is a classic in its own right, Opera North have brought the tragic love story into a more modern setting. Now a burlesque dancer, Carmen (who was played brilliantly by Chrystal E. Williams) is trying to balance work and life as a single mother. The captivating charisma remains however and her every performance was one you couldn’t take your eyes off for a single second. From her first moment on the stage until her last, Carmen is utterly spellbinding – just as she should be.
However, I simply couldn’t mention this review without mentioning Satriya Krisna as Don José. Krisna stepped in as Don José as Sébastien Guéze currently has COVID and I honestly didn’t realise until I checked the cast list afterwards. He did a phenomenal job at bringing the rage and jealousy to light in a truly brutal fashion.
In fact, I think the entire cast were utterly brilliant. They truly gave the show their all and brought an incredible energy to the stage act after act. It is by no means an easy production but Opera North did a fantastic job at bringing Carmen to life in Newcastle with a few new updates of their own. I particularly liked how they used the set design so intrinsically throughout the show, with a few key sets serving to move our characters so smoothly around the town and through the drama of the story. Colin Richmond did a great job with set design for this production with a design that not only grabbed your attention but also helped to move the drama towards its inevitable tragedy.
As always, Theatre Royal was a wonderful host for the night. This beautiful venue is full of helpful staff who always welcome you warmly.