[Met Tour] CID:214410

Fox Theatre, Atlanta, Georgia, Wed, May 8, 1968

Carmen (630)
Georges Bizet | Henri Meilhac/Ludovic Halévy
Grace Bumbry

Don José
Nicolai Gedda

Lilian Sukis

Justino Díaz

Judith De Paul

Marcia Baldwin

Charles Anthony

Gene Boucher

Morley Meredith

Ron Bottcher

Alain Lombard

Review 1:

Review of Jerry Etheridge in the Atlanta Constitution

New 'Carmen' Production Pleases

New York critics have been almost unanimous in condemnation of the Met's new production of "Carmen," some even going so far as to advise Mrs. John D. Rockefeller Jr., who paid for the whole thing, to demand her money back. What prompted such vitriolic attacks was not altogether obvious to your reviewer as he attended this same production at the Fox Theater Wednesday night.

The set, designed by Jacques DuPont, is one of the unit type. It consists basically of a number of large cubes stacked in several tiers and topped by a colonnade. In concave arrangement this serves as the square in Seville for act one; turned inside out it made the outside of the stadium of act four. With the colonnade removed and a large canvas tent erected, we had the tavern of Little Pastia for act two; with the addition of some trees this same set made do for the mountains of act three.

Purely as stage architecture, I thought the set (which seems to have been the target of most of the criticism) very attractive. Its main drawback was the precarious footing it offered the rather large cast, who had to crawl in, around, over, under, and through the many [apertures]. Act one reminded me of nothing so much as a giant ant farm. Staging in general, 1 felt, was a bit busy, although I understand much less so than when the production first opened in New York.

The casting of this "Carmen" was especially fortunate in having Grace Bumbry in the title role, who proved to be a singing actress of considerable talent, with an intelligent conception of her role. Her Carmen is no female Mephistopheles; her evil is all on the surface and strictly uncalculated. She really did not seem so much evil as amoral. Miss Bumbry integrated every gesture, every glance, every movement into a believable whole. Moreover, her strong, sure voice, accurate in matters of pitch and beautiful in quality, made for attentive listening as well as watching.

Nicolai Gedda as Don José, Lillian Sukis as Micaela, and Justino Diaz as Escamillo

handled their parts with varying degrees of success, but all were dominated by the personality of Miss Bumbry. One of the most impressive performances, however, was given by Morley Meredith in the comparatively smaller role of Zuniga. His resonant baritone voice was a pleasure to hear; but it was his superb acting that raised him above all the others except Miss Bumbry.

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