Carmen – Canadian Opera Company

By Megan Mooney


Okay.  So, it’s taken me a long time to write a review of Canadian Opera Company’s production of Carmen.  I’m pretty sure that it’s because I really really really wanted to like it, but, well, I was kind of underwhelmed.

I thought maybe if I sat on it for a bit I’d find that I liked the aftertaste.  But the truth is, there wasn’t enough to it to leave an after taste for me.  In fact, the only thing I seem to keep coming back to was how amazing Rinat Shaham (Carmen) looked.  Seriously.  Hot.  Hot hot hot.  That woman was smokin’.  That and Alain Coulombe (Zuniga) had a speaking voice so deep and luscious that it made me melt every time he said a word. 

But, as appropriate as those things are for the piece, I’m pretty sure that’s not what one should walk away from an opera with. 

I don’t know that there’s anything specifically bad that I could point to.  It wasn’t bad per se.  It just, well, it just wasn’t anything particularly special.  The music was nice, it was good, but it didn’t blow me away.  And, for a piece that is supposed to sizzle with sexual tension, I just didn’t feel any sparks on stage.

The acting (which, I realise, isn’t what one generally goes to the opera for, but if we’re not going to consider it at all, then why not just go to a concert) was meh.  I mean, some of it was actively bad, really wooden.  But it was passable from the main players.  But again, didn’t blow me away.

The set was fine.  The costumes were fine.  The lighting was fine.  It was all fine.

If you adore Carmen, you’ll probably like this.  It certainly isn’t *bad*.  But, don’t expect to be blown away.

The problem with opera is that it’s a fair investment of time, a ‘just fine’ production is fine if it’s an hour, or even an hour and a half long.  But when it’s 3 hours long, well, I just need more to keep me engaged.

If you’ve seen this production and disagree, I’d really love to hear it in the comments below.  Like I said, I really wanted to like this one, so I’d love to hear from folks who did.


Carmen is playing until Friday February 27th at the Four Seasons Centre (145 Queen St. W.)
– Show times are on specific dates (details available here) and are generally at 7:30, except matinees at 2:00
– Ticket prices range from $68 to $321 (but there are tickets starting at $34 for people under the age of 15, and a limited number of tickets for $20 for people between the ages of 16 and 29)
– Tickets are available online, or by calling 416-363-8231


Photo of Rinat Shaham and Alain Coulombe by Michael Cooper