Mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili has received critical acclaim as the “Carmen of the moment” for her part in the ongoing Opera National de Paris bill of the Bizet classic.
Rachvelishvili, whose international breakthrough came with her 2009 Carmen performance at Teatro alla Scala, is cast in the famed role at the Opera Bastille venue for the programme that opened on April 11.
Partnered by performers including Jean‑Francois Borras (as Don Jose) and Roberto Tagliavini (Escamillo), the Georgian singer has already marked her presence in the production by Calixto Bieito.
[Rachvelishvili’s] presence, with her expressive dark eyes and long curly hair, dominated the stage from the very first moment she appears in the phone booth.
She hypnotised the audience with her sensual Habanera, sung with exquisite taste and expressive dynamics,” OperaWire critic Mauricio Villa said in his review of the show.
The article also noted the mezzo-soprano’s “perfectly balanced” registers and evenly sustained vocal lines in the appearance while reminding his readers Rachvelishvili had been the youngest performer to sing in a season-opening bill at the La Scala in 2009.
Without any doubt we can say that Rachvelishvili is the Carmen of the moment and her interpretation will probably be historical,” his review concluded.
Bieito’s production has seen efforts from set designer Alfons Flores, with Merce Paloma working on costumes and Alberto Rodriguez Vega creating the lighting for the Paris Opera show.
Rachvelishvili is set to have the Carmen role all for herself in performances through May 8, with Ksenia Dudnikova taking over in the following evenings.
The Georgian singer’s Paris appearances come on the back of her part in the first new production of Samson et Dalila at New York’s famed Metropolitan Opera in two decades last month.
She has also been praised in reviews from The Washington Post, The New York Times and Operawire for her “show-stopping” debut in Adriana Lecouvreur at the New York venue in January.