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Lawrence D. Devoe, January 2014

Georges Bizet’s Carmen receives an exciting 2013 production from HANDA Opera on Sydney Harbour.

Carmen is all about love, lust, sex, betrayal, and the inescapable power of destiny. A successful production must convey all of these elements and this Sydney Harbour performance gets these points across most convincingly. Further, mezzo-soprano Shaham is the real deal, giving us a raw, sultry and sexy heroine, while her two male colleagues, Popov and Jones deliver mostly competent if not top-of-the-list performances. Conductor Brian Castles-Onion…paces his Australian Opera forces nicely, never losing the pulse of this highly charged music.

…the videography is simply superb. Colors are often deliberately garish, and the facial details are eye-popping, rather amazing for an outdoor performance with artificial illumination. Camera work is spot-on and perfectly coordinated with the extensive stage business.

The sound engineers, taking on the challenge of a remote orchestra and head-miked singers, get the balances just right.

This Carmen is visually stunning with great looking principal singers, including an Elvis-clone Escamillo.The real find for me was Israeli mezzo Shaham who simmers every moment that she is on stage. © 2014 Read complete review

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