When the director Daniel Kramer first told us about his concept of a modern interpretation of Carmen being set in 1980’s Seville, Ohio I yelped for joy and I couldn’t wait for the production to start. Daniel was very clear about what he wanted in our character interpretation and for a singer such as myself the opportunity to play Frasquita as a party loving addict and throwing myself around the stage made me feel like a child in a sweet shop!
It’s a very physical production for everybody involved and this presents challenges. I, like many opera singers these days have trained in dance and I hoped this background would serve me well. I like to push myself physically but without compromising my voice. Luckily the 6 week rehearsal period allowed us all to grow in stamina to produce slick and lively performances.
Being set in 1980’s there are many contemporary elements used in the production – pizza boxes, ketchup, frying pans, baseball bats, a paddling pool as well as a piñata and make shift maracas to highlight the Spanish theme. When asked to describe how these elements are used I just have to say come and watch it – you’re in for a big surprise!
As a modern interpretation of Carmen this is a very clever, entertaining and moving production. It’s very accessible and it is not only the perfect opera for someone who is going for the first time but also for someone who perhaps has seen many traditional productions of Carmen and wants to see something different.
Claire Wild, Frasquita, Carmen
Carmen’s final performance at Leeds Grand Theatre is Wednesday 11 May. It will then tour to:
The Lowry, Salford Quays – 17, 21 May
Theatre Royal, Nottingham – 24, 27 May