Bizet’s Carmen Review

Founders Hall, Chelsea – 13th November 2021

Reviewed by Fozia Munshi


Set in Mexico in the 1990’s and sung in English this modern take on Bizet’s Carmen was entrancing from start to finish. With some hilarious moments to its gory denouement the show kept us transfixed. Watching Bizet’s Carmen in English was surprisingly engaging, removing the need to keep an eye on subtitles whilst trying to concentrate on the act on stage, it was easy to get lost in the performance.

And the performance had everything you’d expect of a modern-day version of Bizet’s Carmen, action, surprising comedic interludes (there was twerking), and denim a plenty to remind us we were in the 1990’s. From the moment Shakira Tsindos’s haughty, fickle, gypsy girl Carmen clad in denim hotpants, sang the famous aria ‘Love is a rebellious bird’ (l’amour est un oiseau rebelle) with attitude the tone of the Opera was set.

A special mention must go to Thomas Isherwood’s Escamillo, playing a famous footballer in this version of the Opera. His entrance and rendition of ‘Vivat, vivat le ‘Toréador’’ raised the roof, with his powerful baritone he would not be misplaced at the Royal Opera House, small wonder he seduces the fickle flirtatious Carmen out of the arms of Don José.

On the night we saw the performance Andrew Rawlings Don José was suffering from pharyngitis necessitating his performance be mimed whilst sung by a stand in. Resulting in a at times, a slightly disorienting effect when Don José was on one end of the room and the voice was singing from the other! But the venue was small enough for it not to matter so much, and the performers rallied around for it to be barely noticeable.

As an overall, if you get an opportunity to see a performance by Opera Loki, I’d urge you to seize it. The company is both a great introduction to the world of Opera in an accessible way but also surprisingly engaging for seasoned Opera fans more used to Glyndebourne. A great night out.