Director: Jeffrey Marc Buchman
Choreographer: Rosa Mercedes
Lighting Designer: Robert Wierzel
Set Design: Allen Charles Klein
Carmen: Maria Jose Montiel
Don Jose: Fernando de la Mora
Escamillo: Aleksey Bogdanov
Micaela: Melissa Shippen
Zuniga: Tyler Simpson
Frasquita: Amanda Opuszynski
Mercedes: Kaitlyn Costello
Dancairo: Adam Cannedy
Remendado: Adam Kirkpatrick
Morales: Scott Hogsed
"Mr. Buchman, particularly through his work with the excellent Atlanta Opera Chorus, has taken great pains to frame a vibrant Seville, and lavished the stage with a wealth of detail. Background characters brilliantly carried out their own personal plots
in minimal yet effective manner."
"Magnificent production... powerful, emotional"
"Buchman’s staging the opera from Don Jose’s point of view was a stroke of genius"
"Magnificent!... a wild emotional ride from seduction and passion to rejection and pleading and finally spiraling down to jealously and rage.
I loved everything about Carmen! Judging from the thunderous applause last night, so did everyone else!"
"All these elements were effectively brought together by the stage direction of Jeffrey Marc Buchman, in this his first time with company. He was able to create the appropriate dramatic environment to deliver the usual worthy production quality for which the Atlanta Opera is now known. Robert Wierzel's lighting was particularly interesting at the beginning of Act III, where yet another imprisoned vision of Don José opened, this time surrounded by the dancing shadows of flamenco dancers; a clever visual display of Don José's internal battle, a man manipulated by seduction, trapped by his passion and with no chance of escaping his fate."
"Jeffrey Marc Buchman, who directed the production, framed the story as a flashback. Don José looked on from a prison cell at the start of each act during the orchestral interludes, remembering the events that led to his downfall. Buchman cleverly partnered with his wife, dancer and choreographer Rosa Mercedes, to integrate Spanish dance throughout the show. The work was presented in grand-opera fashion. Buchman skillfully staged his players — including a very large opera chorus — in such a way that the unit set did not grow tiresome. In addition, Buchman and costume designer Joanna Schmink sustained visual interest by carefully delineating social class in the clothes worn by the cast."
"Energetic, sexy dancers keep the story alive, while the image of prison, in contrast to the freedom of the gypsies, actually reminds us that sometimes we create our own prisons."
Atlanta Opera's Carmen seduces
"Given such a well-known piece filled with some of the most recognizable music in the genre, director Jeffrey Marc Buchman uses clever flashback scenes to recount the story through an imprisoned Don Jose. Some highlights of the staging include the use of slow-motion tableaus – such as the crowd waving cheering during the bullfight – which helped further convey the idea of being trapped inside Don Jose’s memory. The team of flamenco dancers choreographed by Rosa Mercedes bring an authenticity to the sets, along with the dazzling period costuming of the matadors that lit up the theater."
Photos: Jeff Rothman for The Atlanta Opera