Bizet’s Carmen at The Liverpool Empire

Posted on 26 March 2016
By Chris High
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A night at the opera, and all that it conveys, remains something to savour in the hands of the form’s Grand Dame, Ellen Kent, and with this production of Carmen at The Liverpool Empire Theatre, all the little quirks and twists just provide more to enjoy.

Opera is meant to be entertaining and Ms. Kent has certainly pulled no punches in making her Carmen feisty, full of mischievousness and ultimate cruelty for which she duly gets her comeuppance. In fitting all of these complex psychological manifestations into a single being, Liza Kadelnik is quite exceptional in providing the requisite coquettishness and strength, her Mezzo-Soprano soaring, sweeping and diving like a springtime swallow on a gnat hunt and as comparably graceful.

Vitalii Liskovetskiy’s Don Jose is the perfect accompaniment to Kadelnik’s Carmen, with his rumbling Tenor adding the rocks against which the Gypsy girl’s rough waters must crash with such jealous zeal, it is almost enough to have the audience turn away as though watching an tragedy they are unable to prevent in slow motion, which is exactly how it should be.

Then, just when the nerves are jangling with G-String vibrancy, along comes Iuri Gisca as Escamillo, just to add the necessary swagger and arrogance to proceedings, If this Toreador were a footballer he would undoubtedly be Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lionel Messi and Louis Suarez all rolled into one, such is his sublime control, ability to mesmerise and also give just a touch of edge to everything that takes place around him, thereby creating a whole that is as audacious as it is memorable.

With the pace being controlled fabulously by Vasyl Vasylenko and with the requisite appearances of Guinness the donkey and Caspian the Andalucían pony adding yet more authenticity, Ellen Kent’s current incarnation of Bizet’s Carmen makes for yet another joyous evening of fine music exquisitely performed.

Composer: Georges Bizet
The Liverpool Empire Theatre
March 23, 2016
Director / Producer: Ellen Kent
Cast: Liza Kadelnik, Vitalii Liskovetskiy, Iuri Gisca,Alonya Kistenyova
Conductor: Vasyl Vasylenko
PR Rating: **** Enchanting

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