Carmen and Rake’s Progress in Aix

I went to the Aix Festival and covered it for the New York Times. First I reviewed an outstanding production of Carmen:

At the beginning of Dmitri Tcherniakov’s remarkable new production of Bizet’s “Carmen” at the Aix Festival here, the audience is warned that “tonight’s performance contains scenes that may seem like actual danger. Please be aware that they are part of the show.”

Such a disclaimer may be wise reassurance in these jittery times. But it is also a welcome promise: This daring Russian director plans to find some particularly modern anxiety in a work that has become dulled by overexposure.

Boldly rewriting the opera’s dialogue to accommodate his concept, Mr. Tcherniakov presents “Carmen” as a large-scale role-play, a novel bit of psychotherapy for a numb modern man.

You can read it here.

I also tried to get a whole lot of social media slang through the editorial process in my review of The Rake’s Progress (mostly successfully!):

I wish I had money,” sings Tom Rakewell, the aimless protagonist of Stravinsky’s “The Rake’s Progress,” which opened on Wednesday at the Aix Festival here. A satire of quests for fame and fortune, the piece seems in this staging more modern than ever. Many of its characters are, as the kids say, thirsty — desperately seeking the instant celebrity of our internet age.

You can read the full review here.

Photo copyright Patrick Berger

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