It is hard to believe that when one of the most famous of all operas was first performed in Paris in 1875 Spain was a far-away and exotic country hard to reach over the Pyrenees. Scottish Opera's Carmen is set in a square in Seville but sung in old fashioned French. The scenery is sparse whilst the costumes are extraordinarily appropriate.
The story follows the immorality, criminality and eventual murder of the title role. Lithuanian born mezzo-soprano Justina Gringyte was without doubt the evening's highlight and it is not surprising that she has recently become Young Singer of the Year at an international award ceremony. Noah Stewart as Don José and Roland Wood as Escamillo were more than proficient - as were the entire cast of more than seventy. Andrew McTaggart as Moralès, Nadine Livingston as Micaëla and Marie Claire Breen as Mercedes were former Scottish Opera Emerging Artists. The 21 members of the Children's Chorus came from across Scotland.
Lacking the exuberance and music hall glamour of some productions of Carmen made this all the more special as a sensitive, intriguing and thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Performance reviewed: Tuesday 3rd November 2015 at 7.15pm. Further Edinburgh performances on Friday 6th November at 7.15pm, Sunday 8th November 4.00pm, Thursday 12th November at 7.15pm and Saturday 14th November at 7.15pm