Stage Director

Bizet’s Carmen – Opera Grand Rapids – The Grand Rapids Press

Carmen offers unforeseen depth in character

Opera Grand Rapids opened its 40th anniversary season Friday with a production of Georges Bizet’s “Carmen,” and four decades later, c’est magnifique!

Stage director James Marvel’s production was lush in detail in the crowd scenes, sometimes stylized to emphasize the underlying motivations. His staging made good use of space, each act ending under the glare of an intense spotlight. When Carmen made her entrance, the temperature in the hall rose 10 degrees, charming not only men but women, too. Certainly, she was playful and sexy, but also a force to be reckoned with for the audience of 1,830 in DeVos Performance Hall.

Carmens often are one dimensional, remaining unchanged. This Carmen evolved into genuine love for Escamillo, adding to the depth of her demise. Don Jose developed remarkably as well. Where other Don Jose’s simply are viscious at the end, Springer’s descent into mental instability was gripping and effective.

– Jeff Kaczmarczyk, The Grand Rapids Press, Saturday, November 03, 2007

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