This weekend, Secret Opera presented a devised adaptation of the popular opera Carmen by Georges Bizet (1838 – 75). Directed by Robin Pieta, a well-established opera singer, who also took on the role of Jose, the sexually confused protagonist of the play.


I can certainly say that Pieta has an undeniable talent for singing, but directing and acting on this particular occasion did not meet my expectations, a feeling mirrored by other audience members who left during the interval.

The choice to use an all-male cast was very intriguing and an interesting concept but whether it worked…I am still deciding. The show explored the gay community in 1950s Spain and followed a middle aged man whose religious upbringing stopped him from living out his fantasy.

The venue was a very intimate space with no more than 100 seats, which matched the themes of the piece as well as the size of the cast. The set was very simple with just a small table, chair and a projection screen. The musicians could also be seen on stage. I liked the minimalist style as it didn't restrict the actors to a particular spot on stage. It was obvious that they were using projection to suggest that they were in a different environment like a café or town square and to show pictures of the other characters. I can understand the use of this but in my opinion I felt like it didn't add anything to the performance and it actually became quite distracting as the pictures changed frequently. The music could have been enough to suggest change of mood or scene.

There seemed to be a lot of technical issues especially with the lighting as there were a lot of unnecessary blackouts which left the audience waiting and seemed to delay the performance which Pieta may not have been expecting as we heard him give direction through his microphone to one of the other actors on stage, which was very off-putting. There was also a problem with Pieta's hat as he kept knocking it on his head mic which caused interference.

The performance on a whole seemed delayed and over indulgent at times, with the actors walking up and down the aisle when there was no reason for them to do so. The erotic nature of the piece was well-staged however it was rated a 14+ and I personally think it should be a higher rating as some of the content would not have been suitable for a 15 year old.

Although it was not what I was expecting, the singing was of a very high standard, especially that of Jorg Delfos who played the role of Carmen. Luke Mann who played the Dancer was again very talented and moved seamlessly around the stage. Sadly the acting was not on par with the singing and lacked the emotional diversity that these characters needed, it was almost too staged and didn't resonate with the audience.


1 Jun 19:00 £12(£10.50) [2hrs]


Shannon  Hay

Shannon Hay

I am an aspiring actor who is currently taking a year apprenticeship at Chichester Festival Theatre whilst auditioning for Drama school. I am one of the new Arts Award Activists, which I am very much enjoying and I am currently doing my Gold Arts Award.

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