Francesca Zambello

Oh, Carmen!

Dead Roses (c) Mark Tyson

(c) Mark Tyson

It is entirely possible that I was just not in the right mood last night, but I have to say that my spirits were not enlivened by the Royal Opera’s performance of Carmen. Having seen Francesca Zambello’s production a number of times over the years, I’d not really admitted just how absurd it is before now, what with the donkey and the horse for no reason other than gratuitous spectacle, together with a good deal of rather over-laboured ‘Spanishy’ dancing, on top of the perennially irritating children’s chorus that is built into the score. Maybe it was only more evident because the performance didn’t, on this occasion, ‘fly’. (more…)

A tale of two Mozarts…

Figaro on Friday, Giovanni on Saturday. I’m a wee bit Mozart’d out…

Both productions, the Figaro by David McVicar and the Don Giovanni by Francesca Zambello, have been doing the ROH rounds for a while now, and seeing them in such close succession was definitely unfavourable towards the Don Giovanni. The details, the cool elegance and poise of the setting of Figaro showed up all of the deficiencies in the static, rootless, vague Giovanni.  In fact, having been fairly agnostic on the point before, I now came out of the latter opera convinced this slightly clumsy production was ready for replacement. (more…)