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Bizet, Carmen: Buenos Aires Lírica. Soloists, Chorus, Children's Chorus, and Orchestra of Buenos Aires Lírica, Conductor: Alejo Pérez. Teatro Avenida, Buenos Aires. 23.3.2011. (JSJ)


Director: Marcelo Lombardero

Sets: Diego Siliano

Costumes: Luciana Gutman

Lighting: Horacio Efron

Chorus: Juan Casasbellas

Children's Chorus: Mónica Dagorret

Choreography: Ignacio González Cano


Carmen: Adriana Mastrángelo

Don José: Martín Muehle

Escamillo: Leonardo Estévez

Micaela: Oriana Favaro

Zuñiga: Walter Schwarz

Morales: Ricardo Crampton

Frasquita: Cecilia Pastawski

Mercedes: Victoria Gaeta

Le Dancaïre: Sebastián Sorarrain

Le Remendado: Santiago Bürgi

Lillas Pasta: Mario Filgueira

Adriana Mastrángelo (Carmen) and Martín Muehle (Don José)
Photo Liliana Morsia

For its first production of 2011 Buenos Aires Lírica offered a very modern and earthy view of Bizet's ever popular Carmen from the experienced Marcelo Lombardero. Modern in dress and action with no apparent attempts to "politicise" or give it "relevance," it could speak for itself - the only jarring factor being an unnecessary projected film of a bullfight - and this was undoubtedly one of the reasons why it worked so well.

The other reason is of course a cast who could give substance to the emotions and in this they excelled both vocally and visually, with Adriana Mastrángelo a strong and sensual Carmen and Martín Muehle an initially simple and finally desperate and broken Don José. Mastrángelo, Uruguayan born, is as seductive of voice as she is in her movements, and Muehle, originally from Brazil, was expressive and masterful.

Notable too was the Micaela of Oriana Favaro, who charmed with her innocence and crystalline clarity. However, Leonardo Estévez's Escamillo was less successful - although he looked the part, slim and dashing, vocally he appeared somewhat out of range.

Mention too must be made of the other parts and in particular Cecilia Pastawski and Victoria Gaeta as Frasquita and Mercedes respectively, the outlandish Dancaïre of Sebastián Sorarrain and Remendado of Santiago Bürgi, and the camp Lillas Pastia of Mario Filgueira.

The chorus trained by Juan Casasbellas and the children's chorus (from the Teatro Argentino in La Plata) under Mónica Dagorret were both impeccable, and the orchestra under Alejo Pérez gave a polished and lively reading, without in any way being forced. This was the original version with spoken dialogue that was presented.

And for the Buenos Aires audiences, who are notorious for walking out with the final fall of the curtain, a special note in the program encouraged patrons to stay and applaud, which in large measure they did with enthusiasm.

Jonathan Spencer Jones


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