Georges Bizet


Last night we went to see 'Carmen' at the Royal Opera House. It's a great little opera (sung in French), starting with the music to that Weird Al Yankovic track, 'The Beer Song':

Oh... what is the malt and liquor?
What gets you drunken quicker?
What comes in bottles or in cans? (Beer)

(What.... that was a cover? Really?)

It was really great, sumptuous music, the woman playing Carmen really had that classical stereotypical spanish wenchy type of swing to her, the toreadors were fun too.

At the interval we went out on the balcony, for a view over Covent Garden. It was about 8:40pm, but it was still surprisingly empty for the last friday before the 25th December.

Carousel in Covent Garden

However, as we left at the end of the evening with both the Royal Opera House and the theatre where the Lion King is playing disgorging their audiences it soon felt busy!

The plot of Carmen is rather basic, and perhaps a little disjointed at times - though it's easy enough to follow (surtitles were provided). It was amusing in the first act to have a great big long piece singing the praises of the tobacco workers and cigarettes in general!

Dans l'air nous suivons des yeux,
La fumée,
La fumée,
Qui vers les cieux,
Monte, monte parfumé
Cela mongentiment, A la tête, à la tête.
Tout doucement, Cela vous met l'â me'en fête!
Le doux parler, le doux parler des amants, c'est fumée!

'Toreador' was a good section, and had us tapping out feet along with the music.

Toréador en garde! Toréador! Toréador!
Et songe bien, oui, songe en combatant, Un oeil noir te regar---de!
Et que l'amour t'attend, Toréador!
L'amour, l'amour t'attend.

I wasn't able to follow all of the French (heck, if it had been sung in English I wouldn't have followed it all - I tend to find sung lyrics really hard to follow, thankfully most songs have lots of redundancy) - but I had a good stab at it. I glanced at the surtitles as we went through to be sure I wasn't getting lost - the surtitles were done pretty sympathetically, I thought. Not updating on every line (especially where lines were repeated, and the meaning was already clear).

A nice evening out.... and as always the Royal Opera House itself was a stunning piece of architecture.