Flamenco Dancers Highlight "Carmen" Performance!

By Henry C. Mayer

There were several high points during Kentucky Opera's recent performance of Georges Bizet's classic "Carmen." One of them was a dazzling performance by the flamenco dancers Lili del Castillo and Antonio Hidalgo Paz. They imparted a genuine Spanish flavor to the opera; according to a member of the audience with a long and first-hand experience with this kind of dance.

Another was the skilled conducting of Cal Stewart Kellogg. That was evident from the beginning, as the prelude to "Carman" is as lively and Spanish as one could desire. This writer has seen this opera several times but the most previously moving performance of this work came from the baton of Sir Thomas Beecham. A third pleasant surprise was the new and attractive scenery and the collaboration between the Hawaii Opera Theatre and the Kentucky Opera which made it possible.

Six singers made their Kentucky opera debut. Kirstin Chavez and Michael Hayes who added a real zest to the lead roles of the vivacious gypsy Carmen and her soldier lover, Don Jose. Hayes had sung this role before but it was Chavez's first time as Carmen. Stage Director Linda Brovsky's added several nuances which drew comment, such as having the toreador Escamillo sign an autograph before the bull fight.