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Opera Review: Carmen In 3D

Written by Maya Henderson

When I first heard that an Opera was going to be re-created and shown in 3-D I thought it was ridiculous, but still I was intrigued. One would leap to have the opportunity to have Georges Bizet’s bad girl in your lap, via the experience of RealD of course. Still, I was skeptical. There have been many adaptations of this French opera set in Seville, Spain where a beautiful, yet fiery-tempered gypsy woman casts an intricate web of seduction on a set of inexperienced and jealous hearts.

One of the most infamous of these adaptations was the ill acclaimed “ Carmen: A Hip-Hopera” a 2001 musical film produced for television by MTV and directed by Robert Townsend. The film stars Beyoncé Knowles, Mos Def, Rah Digga, Wyclef Jean, Mekhi Phifer, Da Brat, Joy Bryant, Jermaine Dupri and Lil’ Bow Wow. It is based upon Georges Bizet’s opera, Carmen, set in Philadelphia and Los Angeles in modern times, and features a mostly original hip-hop/R&B score in place of Bizet’s opera. So I was concerned when I thought of a new age 3-D rendition of this beloved opera. I feared that a 3-D adaptation would cheapen a surreal experience that only the class of fine opera could convey. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

A girlfriend and I experienced this new take on opera at the AMC Lowes Georgetown 14. The 3-D imagery was impeccable, and the sound mix was awesome! We became engulfed with the sumptuous score immediately and were deeply moved by the presentation. “Carmen in 3D” aesthetically is not as pleasing as Francescos Rosi’s 1984 “Carmen,” filmed in the actual streets of Old Seville. Instead, British director Julian Napier creates an actual state production filmed in 3-D during two performances at London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The singers clearly were chosen as much for their physical and dramatic credibility as their vocal chops.

Although visual proximity through the aides of my RealD glasses only slightly enhanced our experience, I was still thoroughly stimulated and moved by the performance. If the campiness of adding 3-D to the greatest opera of our time brings movie lovers and opera geeks together to experience something amazing, I fully support this movement.

To learn more about Carmen in 3D, visit

Posted by admin   @   30 March 2011
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