Another opera joins the dirty-overcoat brigade

This is Carmen, currently at Opera Australia.

The role is sung by the French mezzo Clementine Margaine, reckoned to be one of the most seductive interpreters of the moment.

So why kit her out in a full-length overcoat?

Correction: It is Natalie Aroyan as Micaëla. The point still stands.

carmen coat

The director is John Bell, the designer Michael Scott-Mitchell.

The ticket-sales page bears no visual relation to the production.

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  • If I am not mistaken, this is a picture of Natalie Aroyan as Micaëla, and not of Clémentine Margaine as Carmen. So the drab look makes perfect sense…

  • This is a picture of Natalie Aroyan whonplaysbthe demure Micaela. Carmen at no time wears an overcoat. O saw the production tonight. With some reservations it was one of the finest Carmens I have heard live the three protagonists were superb and the psychological reading spot on. Yonghoon Lee was stunning as Jose.

    • Damn, Norman! Foot in it again. (But I suppose overcoats from the charity shop are cheaper than the full, swirly, swishy dresses.)

  • This is a picture of Natalie Aroyan who plays the demure Micaela. Carmen at no time wears an overcoat. I saw the production tonight. With some reservations it was one of the finest Carmens I have heard live the three protagonists were superb and the psychological reading spot on. Yonghoon Lee was stunning as Jose.

    • Be that as it may, Norman correctly references a sales page photo (woman in red) that has 0 to do with the staging.

      • The photo on the sales page is of Milijana Nikolic who will play Carmen in this production in a second cast after Clementine finishes. The image was from a publicity photoshoot done some time ago to launch the season. I find it rather more risque than necessary but it is true to Milijanas appearance and eye catching. True to bears little connection design wise to the actual costumes.in the show. The coat worn by Micaela is used however in a very definite context and is not gratuitous or gimmicky as indeed this look has been over used in other productions. What is really stunning in this show is the singing of the two leads and their psychological battle. The production juxtaposes gaudy tackiness of Cuban underworld with a very gropping central drama. Bravo to OA …after many disappointing new productions this one actually works well.

  • Greatcoats and dusters must be banished as now-exhausted cliched opera costuming. Also: goggles, RayBans, and wrap-around shades; lab coats and surgical caps; shredded T-shirts; fishnet stockings and garters; lingerie made of “sleazy” synthetic fabric; combat boots; zip-down-the-front jumpsuits; and, of course, Nazi uniforms and regalia in any form.

    • David, you are leaving few freedoms for the budding young director – but at least the door is still open for tired choruses carrying cheap suitcases à la refugees, not to mention the ‘birthday suit’, becoming more and more popular, I am told, especially as singers can demand extra payment for genital exposure.

  • John Bell is the Intendant of the Bell Shakespeare company. Would do a great job with this I imagine. My opinion is based on nothing considering I’m on the other side of the world, but I guarantee it’s still worth more than anything printed in the Daily Telegraph.

  • When the critic hears “Recondita armonia” in the first act of Carmen, it’s pretty hard to trust anything else from that review…

  • I’m finding it very hard to believe that discussion is trying to be generated about an overcoat. An overcoat. Does this blogger never actually go to the opera? Or does he just browse websites for photos he doesn’t like, to post and make some sort of cheap shot in the hope of a bit of controversy? Character wears overcoat, therefore something is fundamentally wrong wth opera?

    This new Carmen at OA is very well costumed (colourful and gaudy), very well directed, and being very well received by critics and capacity audiences that are getting on their feet at the end.

    I’m pretty sure none of them were concerned about an overcoat.

  • If it is held at the outdoor setting my wife and I with some friends saw when we visited Sydney earlier this Spring – in Canada, and Overcoat would be a necessity due to their Autumn and now Winter time in the southern Hemisphere? This was outdoors near the famous Sydney Opera House which is seen across one of the bays where the set was located.
    Just wonderings

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