Bizet’s sensuous and thrilling tunes transform this sordid tale of lust and betrayal into a masterpiece of passion and loss. Azat Maksutov’s orchestra brought some Andalucían heat to autumnal Crawley. The well-drilled chorus gave this production life, seditious, seductive or sultry as required. Our sympathies were directed firmly at Don José and his faithful Michaela, impassioned and anguished, naïve and determined. The full-blown Carmen, with her seductive lower register, and stolid Escamillo could not ignite our sympathy as much. The troopers of The Hawth Youth Theatre provided a welcome moment of humour as they paraded courageously and sang out well.
The Hawth, Crawley, 7 October 2016