12 March 2018 at 3.53pm | 10 Comments
With a huge amount of stage time and some hefty vocal numbers, performing in the Chorus in Bizet's Carmen is tough work for even the most experienced choristers.
In The Royal Opera's new production, Director Barrie Kosky has added further challenges for the singers: the 60 members of The Royal Opera Chorus are required to run up and down a huge set of moving stairs as they sing, dance and act.
'It's very difficult to do the kind of singing we do with that much choreography,' soprano Emma Smith explained, in an interview first broadcast as part of the cinema broadcast of Carmen.
'We've been told to dance off the beat and use lots of hand gestures, and when you're so in tune to the music it's so difficult to do gestures off the beat!'
Kosky shared the rationale behind his unexpected staging and choreography: 'I don't like choruses to be treated as anonymous, all the same costume, all doing the same movement - that's boring, and they find it boring,' he said.
'This is an incredible job, and doing something like Carmen – this particular Carmen – has been great,' said tenor George Freeburn. 'It's just been one big laugh.'
Carmen runs until 16 March. Tickets are now sold out, but returns may become available.
And staged with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet, Yvonne and Bjarne Rieber, Alan Howard, Trifon and Despina Natsis, The ROH Young Philanthropists, and the Friends of Covent Garden.