Carmen 2013

at WINSLOW HALL OPERA, UK

OPERA NOW reviewed this production. Click here, if you would like to read excerpts.

This summer, Yvonne directed her third production of BIZET's Carmen at Winslow Hall Opera, the new, exciting and buzzing venue for the old Stowe Opera. After the success of last year's LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, the team worked on another brand-new production.  The cast included Gianluca Paganelli - Don José; Natasha Day - Micaela; Njabulo Madlala - Escamillo; Hannah Mason - Mercedes; Helen Massey - Frasquita; Henry Manning - Dan Caïro/Morales; Richard Rowe - Remendado and Nicolas Legoux - Zuniga. Like in 2004, Yvonne took on the role of Carmen. The set design was by Francisco Rodriguez-Weill and lighting by Tony Simpson.

Here are some of Yvonne's thoughts: "Carmen is one of the most complex personalities in the operatic repertoire. I am always asking myself what went on in her life before we meet her on stage. Her driven nature and manipulative way in which she treats men has to have its roots in pain and aggression throughout past relationships, both with family members as well as lovers. I imagine, she may have experienced substantial abuse by members of her traveling clan and never knew the feeling of protection through a parent. Over the years, Carmen learnt how to fight back and became an expert in putting on an act, a self-protective shield to enable her to survive and to keep everyone at a safe distance. Behind it remained a searching, yearning and unstable young woman who is willing to take situations to a knife's edge in order to make herself feel something and to provoke life (in Carmen's case fate) to come up with a strong reaction.

"The mere fact that this Carmen presented so many paradoxes, and invites so many conflicting responses, is a measure of how far Fontane has managed to penetrate plot and personality, and get others to do so around her." (MVDAILY.COM - Roderick Dunnett; Stowe Opera)

"Don José, himself a troubled soul, feels out of place wherever he is. At home, he is at odds with the idea of a life with Micaela as something he did not really choose, but which was rather predetermined. He is already in trouble with the law and the small, ineffective army career he has made for himself, he throws away after meeting Carmen. She becomes an idée fixe for him, a way out of his troubled mind and someone he wants to indiscriminately pour all his love and passion into. Also lost and yearning, this fixed idea of a life around Carmen completely turns him blind towards reality and his dreams and desires turn to obsession. Both characters set the stakes higher and higher to provoke even stronger reactions in the other. Neither have the tools for a functioning relationship - for the kind of relationship that they are occasionally playing through in their minds - free from their exhausting and complicated past and present circumstances."

"Fontane is a super-effective director." (MVDAILY.COM - Roderick Dunnett; Stowe Opera)

"The story is intimate, personal and eternally relevant to human nature and the relationships between all the characters will remain the focus of my production. The backdrop will be Franco's Spain in the late 40s and early 50s - suppression, fear of the wilful Nationalists' army and branches of underground movements in front of the beauty of the country, its splendid colours and waning grandeur. The story of Don José and Carmen is fuelled further by the tension in which everyone around them has to live due to the punitive regime. People live in conflict with themselves and the world as most have to lead a duplicitous and secretive existence."

Performances are on July 25, 27, 28, 30 and August 1, 3.

www.winslowhallopera.co.uk

Latest News

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LONDON FESTIVAL OPERA

In 2016, Yvonne will continue to enjoy her many engagements as leading mezzo soprano with London Festival Opera to venues including in Germany, Italy, Malta and the UK.

Nova Scotia Symphony Orchstra

On February 12 and 13/2016, Yvonne will be singing in Halifax, Canada with the Nova Scotia Symphony Orchestra. The venues are the Halifax World Trade Centre and the Dalhouse Arts Centre.

PRODUCER of the ART SHOW "STEINKLANG"

On April 7 and 8/2016 Yvonne is producing and partaking in "STEINKLANG", a multi-media production that combines Yvonne's own composed music and songs with the art of wood and stone sculptures. Venue: Tenne Hub in Penzberg, Bavaria.

Latest Reviews

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CARMEN @ WHO Carmen and Stage Director

"Fontane, a cultivated singer, vocalised with plenty of curdling chest-notes and a kind of untrammelled physical ardour...There was loads of atmosphere...The action was full of nuanced human relations, the principals a group of predatory animals circling with wary blood-lust, acutely alive to the possibility of prey..." (OPERA NOW)

AIDA Amneris in Germany

"Yvonne Fontane sings and acts Amneris as the ice-cold schemer and desperate lover. Highly musical and with a dark glowing mezzo never veering in intonation during her jealous outbreaks, she is deeply moving in the judgement scene." (Gut Immling Festival, BAYRISCHER RUNDFUNK KLASSIK)

THE BRIDE OF DIONYSUS Pheadra

"Yvonne Fontane has a silvery pure voice, strong on clarity of diction yet imbued with humanity and with the ability to act with the voice." (CD of 'THE BRIDE OF DIONYSUS' Pheadra with the BBC Ulster Orchestra, Dutton Epoch, www.musicweb-international.com)

LE NOZZE DI FIGARO Stowe Opera La Contessa and Stage Director

"Her production of LE NOZZE DI FIGARO was just about faultless, too, perceptive, funny, sweet, touching, her Countess dramatically many layered and fitting comfortably in the voice."(OPERA NOW) "Figaro was a beautifully precise, profound piece of work" (OPERA NOW)