Carmen at Concordia: Opera in the Parks

I love the “old warhorse” operas. They have pulled their own weight for years and are still going.

And Opera in the Park doesn’t separate out the experience from the Experience, if you are into caps as meaningful punctuation. The experience of listening to astonishing feats of voice while people and surrounds watching is irresistible.

The Concordia Green (Concordia University in Portland Oregon) is at the center of the campus, and the players, singers, and green behind us viewers/listeners were reflected in the windows of the library. If one had trouble seeing over the picnic-ers in front of one, the windows still provided entertainment.

The opera, abbreviated as it was (they left out Carmen’s card-reading aria that is one of my favorites) kept, for understandable purposes, the children’s scene, played by the Pacific Youth Choir Children’s Chorus. The kids did great, and were well filmed doing so:

Of course, the children in the audience were also admired:

There were lots and lots of wonderful hats — the sun  brought them out of the closet — and along with the usual blue jeans and t-shirts were tons of tattoos and elegant dresses — some flesh baring for the sun, some slinky for the occasion.

Oh, and there was the opera itself with its time-honored scenario — the villainous bass, toreador Escamillo (sung by Richard Zeller) who steals the gorgeous mezzo-gypsy Carmen from the soldering twit Jose, who can’t make up his mind. Jose vacillates between his loyalty to country, god, mama and Carmen, but ultimately goes off the deep end when Carmen says she doesn’t want to be owned by his possessive mania:

As these fuzzy photos might show, the final scene between Carmen (Stacey Rishoi) and Jose (Daniel Snyder) were thrilling; the two of them managed to enthrall all of us until I, for one, forgot the gorgeous evening, the lovely window reflections, the charming children and fine clothing, and found myself outside the bullring in Seville, where Jose, enraged at Carmen’s refusal to be trapped in his weakness, stabs her. Whew!

But just to leave us all with a nice clear view of an earlier state of Carmen, who frankly is quite a dish in her shimmering gown, here she is again:

Jan, Rick, Jer and I met painting buddy Jane (she might turn into an opera buddy, too) at Concordia, fed on grapes and almonds, had funny bits of chatter about the opera, our experiences with opera, our memories of opera, and oh yes, a bit of sports trivia in-between. Altogether a most satisfactory way to spend a summer’s eve. –June

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3 Responses to Carmen at Concordia: Opera in the Parks

  1. june says:

    Oh, fearnotruth, I’m so glad to hear this. I have flawed hearing and thought the problems were with my own ears. I don’t like to complain because it can ruin an evening’s mood, so I didn’t check with anyone else around me about the sound. So it wasn’t me — the sound was bad!


  2. fearnotruth says:

    I too attended at Concordia…

    Bravi to all performers – outstanding work – what could be heard of it

    rotten raspberries to the sound crew – perhaps the worst job of classical music sound enhancement ever attempted – orchestra totally unbalanced – singers uneven and badly reproduced throughout – and, a pop-music sound track at intermission – absolute classical venue faux pas – clearly a pop crew utterly unmatched to the task – who hires these people?


  3. Lia says:

    How fun! I saw Carmen in Portland too, but at the opera house. Sounds like the outdoor performance added to the spontaneous entertainment qualities.


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