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I may have mentioned it before but I just don’t care if I have. I love opera…predominantly Mozart but others too. This month we went to see Carmen at the Royal Opera House (ROH).

OK, it is expensive there but, if you are on their access list, you can get two for the price of one which helps a bit. On the plus side, it is fabulously accessible since it has been re-developed and all the best opera singers are to be found there.

I cut my operatic teeth – so to speak – at the English National Opera (ENO) – a venue that is more experimental in production terms and a lot cheaper than the ROH but, once your ear is attuned, you want to hear the best. Productions at the ROH can be a bit traditional and they often miss wildly when attempting contemporary but, when it all comes together, WOW!

As a regular, I tend to look for new productions and/or up and coming voices. You have to book so far ahead that I often quite forget why I picked this, or that, performance in particular. Carmen is such a well known opera. It is hard to surprise and excite your audience with it. We all know what to expect, don’t we?

On this night, I looked at the programme and wondered why I was here… and then, I found out. This was a new production with some new stars in debut roles and it was truly fantastic. The set was sculpture like and impressive, Anna Caterina Antonacci’s Carmen wonderful but the star of the show was Jonas Kaufmann as Don Jose. He was electrifying. You have to hear it yourself. No words can describe it. It was a moment, a performance; this moment IS what live performance is all about. I had not heard of him before. Both his voice and acting were sublime. At the end, the whole audience erupted into a standing ovation for him.

I was there.

Live opera
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