On the Royal Opera’s Carmen – Goryachova saves the day

First of all, congratulations to Anna Goryachova on her debut in Covent Garden. It’s always a pleasure to see Russian stars here and she really did shine. A truly beautiful woman with a strong fantastic voice and acting skills to match. I would go as far as to say that she is the next Netrebko in the making. I can’t wait to see her again in the Queen of Spades next year..

Now to the production. What happened? What happened to the set? 3 hours of just the same grey stairs really did not impress. And then Carmen wore a gorilla suit? That seriously happened.

Although overall I did enjoy the opening night. For those still deciding whether to go here is my guidance:

  • Is this going to be your first opera?

If yes, don’t go. There are better ways to start, for example, you can’t go wrong with the Italians.

  • Have you seen Carmen before many times?

If yes and you loved it as it is, think carefully before going. This production has changed it quite significantly and it may be too painful to adjust.

If yes and you are bored of all the previous productions (and how many Carmens have there been!) – go. If you are open-minded enough and are looking for new interpretations, the Royal Opera House certainly obliges.

  • Do you just enjoy beautiful singing and a nice evening out in Covent Garden?

Go, the cast is so fantastic and made the evening special despite a novel production. Goryachova, of course, but also Francesco Meli (who we saw before in Il Travatore) and Kostas Smoriginas – truly superb and worth seeing.

I still do feel bad about people who are now going to think that Carmen is just this – grey stairs, no colours, gorilla suits.. I promise there is more to it, usually. However, this opera stands or falls on the actress playing Carmen and here, without a doubt, it stands tall.



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