Gianluca Terranova performs as Don José and Varduhi Abrahamyan performs as Carmen in the Atlanta Opera’s production of “Carmen.” CONTRIBUTED BY JEFF ROFFMAN
All in all, the leads create a thoroughly believable set of dramatic circumstances that come across in interesting ways in various scenes and arias, such as Terranova’s finely rendered “Flower Song.”
Nicole Cabell as Micaela manages to bring out some of the character’s old-school, hometown innocence but also her daringness under duress; her desperate journey to the mountains and a brief exchange between Micaela and Carmen are especially memorable.
Nicole Cabell plays Micaela and Gianluca Terranova is Don José in the Atlanta Opera’s production of “Carmen.” CONTRIBUTED BY JEFF ROFFMAN
Crowd scenes, of which there are many, can occasionally feel too chaotic or oddly paced — it’s hard to know where to look — but there are often compelling little vignettes observable in the chorus and supernumeraries, and a scene of actual frenzied, festive chaos in the tavern is thoroughly effective. Conductor Arthur Fagen keeps the emphasis on strong rhythm in that frenzied scene and elsewhere such as the overture, giving fast passages energy and excitement while also paying due attention to slower melodies’ varied textures as they move across orchestral sections.
“Carmen” tells a pretty simple story, but it takes its time doing it: The length — nearly three and a half hours — even belies the sort of universal, simple directness of the narrative. Still, action seems to develop at a fine pace across the evening’s four acts, and even those who have never been to an opera before and seldom listen to classical music will recognize and enjoy many of the melodies. It’s all given energetic expression with an effective emphasis on dramatic storytelling.
The Atlanta Opera’s successful production makes it clear why “Carmen” has remained such an enduring classic, and a packed, receptive house on opening night certainly showed that the opera remains a draw.
The Atlanta Opera presents Bizet’s “Carmen”
7:30 p.m. May 1; 8 p.m. May 4; and 3 p.m. May 6. $50-$156. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. 404-881-8885, www.atlantaopera.org.
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