The Source for Media Coverage of The Arts in Miami.
Articles, reviews, previews and features on dance and music performances and events.
Sign Up
No one logged in. Log in

Artburst Portal

“Carousel,” which contains some of the most gorgeous and memorable songs ever written for a musical, may be a musical you’ve never seen, though it has been around since 1945. The follow-up to “Oklahoma!,” Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s hugely successful debut as a composer-lyricist team, “Carousel” requires a huge cast by today’s standards, an orchestra that can do that gl..

Before women like movie star Melissa McCarthy, Chrissy Metz of NBC’s “This Is Us” and Whitney Thore of TLC’s “My Big Fat Fabulous Life” became widely embraced personalities, Josefina Lopez wrote a play titled “Real Women Have Curves.” Lopez’s 1994 comedy, made into a 2002 movie that marked America Ferrera’s film debut, is about many things. Its subjects include the fears of undocument..

Stephen Adly Guirgis won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for drama for his darkly comic “Between Riverside and Crazy.” Two years later, as GableStage’s sizzling new production so abundantly demonstrates, the play feels completely of the moment – in part because its characters traffic in “alternative facts.” Retired New York cop Walter “Pops” Washington (Leo Finnie) refuses to settle an eight-..

Neo-Impressionist Georges Seurat was an influential visionary whose pointillist work launched a movement before his untimely death in Paris in 1891 at the age of 31. He spent two years painting his masterpiece, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” in which tiny dots of juxtaposed color viewed at the right distance transform into a host of Parisians relaxing on an island ..

Thirty-two playwrights, a half dozen directors, and around ninety plays in less than two hours. This is the South Florida One-Minute Play Festival, now in its fifth year, which runs this weekend. The festival, performed at the Deering Estate in Palmetto Bay and curated by Caitlin Wees and Dominic D’Andrea, has become a phenomenon in its own right. South Florida’s version of the festival i..

Mention the Harlem Renaissance, and those who know their history would be able to tell you a little or a lot about that vibrant period in New York’s black social and cultural life. But bring up the New York Renaissance – also known as the Renaissance Big Five or the Rens – and you’d be likely to stump anyone who isn’t steeped in basketball lore. Playwright and director Layon Gray ..

Listen up, humanity. God has a bone (or 10) to pick with us, and we’d best pay attention. I mean, if he can zap the wing off an argumentative archangel – and he can – just imagine what’s in store for us. Or simply consider the news, post-election. David Javerbaum, the Emmy Award-winning executive producer and head writer of Comedy Central’s much-missed “The Daily Show with Jon Ste..

I saw Lorca en un vestido verde, the Spanish-language version of Nilo Cruz’s play Lorca in a Green Dress eight years ago on a cramped stage in Little Havana’s Teatro Ocho, where Rolando Moreno took on the task of directing four actors who play eight roles. Even with the limitations of the production, Cruz’s inventive and lyrical script made Lorca one of my favorites from the Pulitzer Priz..

Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Aquarius (2016) is a masterful and engaging film exploring the dilemma of a singularly strong-willed, exceedingly attractive older woman who refuses to budge when power comes knocking at her door and tries to blow it off its hinges. A relative newbie to the director’s chair, Mendonça is a former film critic who layers a rich texture of skillfully developed metaphor..

The words that South Florida playwright Michael McKeever has chosen for his intense new play ‘After’ are powerful indeed. They would have to be, since his Zoetic Stage world premiere at Miami’s Arsht Center is a devastating piece about bullying, school violence and the moment when one horrific act destroys two families. But just as powerful as the words in “After” are the silences, as..

It is an awe-inspiring experience to see the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancers perform. They are well trained dancers, athletes and artists. Not often known is that some of the dance..

Back for an 8th season in Miami, the legendary Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater packs the house every year. With Liberty City hometown hero Robert Battle in his fifth year, we have many rea..

Awash in sunlight, around 50 women stand in a circle on the rooftop performance space of Casa Gaia in Old Havana, Cuba, as part of a belly-dance festival. Biodanza facilitator Karen Rodríguez..

Choreographer Jeanguy Saintus works primarily from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, but his creative work has global appeal. He is a pioneering artist who blends Haiti’s traditional music and dance alo..

New life for a legacy ballet—a veritable choreographer-magnet—created a great buzz about Miami City Ballet’s third program this season. But at the Arsht Center for the Performing ..

Who doesn’t delight in fairies? Miami City Ballet, for the success of its third program of the season, is certainly banking on one. And, instead of wielding a magic wand, she comes eager to p..

Transgendered performance artist Scott Turner Schofield is a collector of stories. Growing up in the South, the tales that were told about the gay and trans community were the ugliest kind of..

The Miami Theater Center in Miami Shores is giving experimental dancer-choreographer Lazaro Godoy the opportunity to interweave his visual arts and performance passions in ArMOUR, a multimedi..

The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet artistic director Tom Mossbrucker and executive director Jean-Philippe Malaty have thrilled audiences world wide with stimulating and exciting performances, and Miam..

Duende Eludes FGO’s ‘Carmen’

Photo:
Written by: Fernando Landeros
Article Rating

It is difficult to describe duende. Far from elf or goblin, in its literal translation from Spanish, it is the war of emotions being fought in our groin as we experience a work of art. Duende is irrational, sometimes dark, primal, and of course, supernatural. To have duende is to be able to invoke those forces from the soul, and make everyone present imbibe them.

Last Saturday evening, Florida Grand Opera opened its 75th season with Georges Bizet’s operatic masterpiece Carmen, a work that has duende boiling under its skin; but sadly, the cast could not bring it up to the surface.

Based on Prosper Mérimée’s eponymous novella about a Gypsy femme fatale taken to her death by her jealous lover, Carmen paints a masterful portrait of how passion devours our senses.

Unlike Mérimée, Bizet was never in Spain, and the music he composed for Carmen is very much French. He did, however, incorporate idioms used in flamenco music and a Spanish folk song or two for added flavor. Bizet’s genius lies in how well his music depicts the progression of emotions experienced by the characters throughout the work.

Carmen’s true protagonist is Don José, the lover that brings her to her tragic demise. He starts off as an honest army officer, who could have enjoyed a blissful life marrying his hometown sweetheart Micaëla. Instead he meets Carmen, the embodiment of vice, and quickly finds himself under her spell. He follows her into a life of crime, where his love for her turns into obsession and rage, and when she gets tired of him and finds a new lover, he surrenders to despair.

Don José is a strenuous role that stands tall against any verismo hero of Puccini or Mascagni. Puerto Rican tenor Rafael Dávilagot through it vocally, but could not convincingly portray his character’s emotional deterioration.

The spark between Dávila and Spanish mezzo-soprano María José Montiel, the evening’s Carmen, was not even big enough to light a match. Montiel knows exactly what to do with her glorious voice, but not so much with her striking body. Carmen exudes sex, and by the end of Act I, having sung “Habanera”and “Seguidilla,” everyone watching should have been aroused. Montiel remained refined throughout the performance.

Duende was awakened by choreographer Rosa Mercedes and her rivetingflamencodancers, starting with the “Gypsy Song” at the beginning of Act II. Their delivery was intoxicating, and left the stage polished for one of the most recognizable arias in all opera, the “Toreador Song.”

The role of the bullfighter Escamillo seems to be tailor made for bass-baritone Ryan Kuster. He has the dark colored voice and magnetism and he would have stolen the show, had he been audible. Kuster had not been fighting bulls but an infection, and was rendered powerless.

It was difficult to appreciate stage director Bernard Uzan’s vision for the drama with such a disjointed cast. Still, some of his creative questions could be heard. Right before the curtain rose, Uzan reduced Carmento a dead bull being dragged away after a fight. Then, choosing to end Act II with the music of the prelude to Act III, he tenderized her with an amorous ballet between her and Don José. Who is Carmen,really? A dangerous obsession? A perfectly balanced object of desire? The incarnation of duende? No one can know.

Bizet’s ‘Carmen’ presented by FGO, Friday, Nov. 18 and Saturday, Nov. 19 at 8:00 p.m., Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; and at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, on Thursday, Dec. 1 and Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $19 to $200; www.fgo.org.

 


Leave a comment...
Must be Logged in
No one logged in. Log in
Leave a comment...
Was this helpful?
No Very

Captcha Image

About The writer

Classical pianist, music writer

Fernando Landeros is a pianist who has performed throughout Mexico, the United States, Australia, Germany, and Austria. A native of San Diego, his..

About the Writer

Desde Las troyanas de Eurípides hasta “Guernica” de Picasso, o de la canción “Blowing in the Wind” de Bob Dylan al diseño de las gorras rosadas que llevaron miles de mujeres en las protestas ..

En un discurso de 1977, el escritor argentino Jorge Luis Borges desmintió la idea de que la ceguera fuera un mundo de oscuridad cuando describió su propia “modesta ceguera”. Hablaba de ciert..

En su discurso de recibimiento del Premio Nobel, el poeta chileno Pablo Neruda afirmó que el poeta no es un "pequeño dios." De hecho expresó que el mejor poeta “es el hombre que nos entrega e..

En la cultura yoruba, y sobre todo en sus manifestaciones caribeñas como la afrocubana, las historias contadas oralmente por generaciones ocupan un lugar esencial. Esas historias, muchas de e..

En la serie artística Out in the Tropics, la tarima no discrimina, la sensibilidad de los intérpretes es inclusiva y todo público es bienvenido. Producción de la entidad local sin fines d..

El flamenco es una música de fusión. La tradición es de sobrevivencia, de cambio constante y adaptación al lugar y los tiempos. Mientras el sonido puede ser diferente, el espíritu de Nuevo Fl..

La problemática del cambio climático está que arde. Sobre todo en un estado como la Florida, en primera fila para sufrir consecuencias drásticas. Llegar al público con este mensaje e inspirar..

La música tiende puentes, y por más de media década ya, dos entidades artístico culturales del sur de la Florida, FUNDarte (http://fundarte.us/fundarte_event.php?id=221) y Miami Light Project..

La colaboración del pianista cubano de jazz Gonzalo Rubalcaba y la cantaora flamenca española Esperanza Fernández junta a dos artistas de primera línea en sus respectivos géneros sin miedo d..