Sunday, 17 July 2016


by Georges Bizet

“What?”, I hear you crying, “now you go to the opera every single day?” Relax, dear reader. Not every day. Why, I spent years, nay, decades, without going to any opera and feel quite fine about that. I don’t even like opera that much. Unless it is something by Verdi. Or Carmen. It just so happened that right now there is the Festival of Theatre, Music and Dance in Las Palmas, and we’ve been attending it two days in a row.

Besides, we were attracted by the location as much as by the performance itself. This particular instance of Carmen took place at the Terminal de Contenedores del Muelle de La Luz (container terminal of the port). Playing in this unusual place became kind of a tradition for the Philharmonic Orchestra of Gran Canaria. Not the easiest spot to get to and from, considering that the show started at 10 pm; thankfully, there were free buses running from (and then back to) the Centro Comercial El Muelle. I have to say that the event was very well organised and, with tickets priced at €12, a steal. But, of course, there is always room for improvement.

Now the show was (thank goodness!) not a complete opera in four acts but a “greatest hits” compilation and, as it often happens with greatest hits compilations, included some misses as well. Our very own Canarian Nancy Fabiola Herrera made a great Carmen (“She is very pleased with herself”, noted Timur); in comparison, primo uomo Enrique Sánchez Ramos, while technically adequate, was not that impressive or memorable. Both lead singers and choir were just standing there, so it was more like an oratorio than an opera. I felt this gorgeous space was tragically underused. One can imagine employing the said containers as stage props or at the very least to create raised seating area. From our seats, there was little to be seen without binoculars. However, as the show was filmed for Spanish television and projected on huge TV screens (also mounted on the containers), we did not miss much in terms of visuals.

When we were back to the town, I asked Timur how much did he understand of the opera, given that he learns French in school. “Was it in French?” he asked. “Well... One word there was... L’amour.”


    Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria
    Conductor: Rodrigo Tomillo
    Mezzo-soprano: Nancy Fabiola Herrera
    Baritone: Enrique Sánchez Ramos
    Mezzo-soprano: Raia Natcheva
    Soprano: Maite Robaina
    OFGC Choir
    OFGC Children Choir

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