Carmen. Bizet. Cap d'Agde and Pezenas

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I had the privilege of attending the 25 and 27 October 2013 to the d’Art Lyrique Pézenas Enchantée Festival (France) with  the show of the opera «Carmen» by Georges Bizet in the cities of Cap d’Agde and Pezenas.
The Festival d’Art Lyrique Pezenas Enchantée celebrated its seventh edition. On this occasion a series of concerts, lectures, exhibitions and shows were performed, including the «tribute to Verdi» in which shone with own light the great Chantal Bastide, Maria Cristina Villasmil mezzo-soprano and the soprano Jennifer Michel, which highlighted with brilliance and quality. It is remarkable the career of this young French soprano, granddaughter of the French tenor Gérard Dunan (1936-1977) and that on the month of December will sing at the Marseille Opera «Orphée aux enfers» by Offenbach. We must follow in detail the progression of this promising artist.
The second show was the representation of the opera «Carmen» by Bizet, directed by the mezzo-soprano Viorica Cortez, one of the most important «Carmen» of the 20th century, under the musical direction of Michèle Voisinet, pianist of the National Opera of Paris and the members of the Association of the 25 October Festival.
El the role of «Carmen» in the town of Cap d’Agde was portrayed by the mezzo-soprano Maela Vergnes. Sensual, wild, free Maela Vergnes was received with great enthusiasm by the audience gathered in the Auditorium of the Congress Palace.
El role of «Don José» was played by the Spanish tenor Juan Antonio Nogueira. His stage presence, his beautiful tenor voice, his phrasing and diction in French captivated the audience. His Duet with Michelle shocked attendees. The interpretation of the aria «La fleur que tu’ j’avais jetée» seduced the public there assembled. The love scenes with Carmen triggered a torrent of applause. In the third and fourth Act, Nogueira reaffirmed his histrionic qualities, remarking the transformation of the tormented character. It was hard to imagine that it is the first time that this young tenor addressed the role of Don José, one of the most difficult roles of the lyric tenor repertoire sung in French, both due to the psychology of the character as anti-hero and the vocal difficulty.
In the rest of the cast included the roles of «El Remendado» performed by Jean-Pierre Torrent and «El Dancaïro» by Michel Vaissiere.
On October 27 «Carmen» took place in the theatre of Pézenas in the presence of Michel Plasson, the famous orchestra conductor, who was very satisfied of this representation. The role of «Carmen» was played by the mezzo-soprano Natacha Hummel. Less wild and provocative than Maela Vergnes, Natacha managed to attract the sympathy of the public by the timbre of his voice.
«Micaela» was interpreted by the soprano Camille Giménez-Lavaud, her aria was acclaimed by the public. The roles of Escamillo, Morales, Mercedes, Zuniga, Frasquita were interpreted by a homogeneous distribution.
Two memorable nights that will remain in the memory of the inhabitants of these two French cities. And above all, the discovery of this Spanish tenor, Juan Antonio Nogueira, to whom I foresee a brilliant lyric career.
Paris, 2 November 2013
Eyda T. Machin
Traducción: Mª. Garcia-Rosado