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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » October 29, 2008
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Innovative Carmen on DVD
October 29, 2008   
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The Gliwicki Music Theater (GTM) Carmen DVD release hit music showrooms across Poland Oct. 17.

The staging of Georges Bizet's opera at the GTM in Gliwice in southern Poland was a cultural highlight in Silesia in 2006. Director Pawe³ Szkotak makes inventive use of the ruined space of the burned-down Municipal Theater in Gliwice. He rearranged it so as to bring to mind a Spanish-style bullfighting ring or corrida. For example, he seated the audience on stage and moved the artists to the space designated for the audience. He created a spectacular show distinct from all former theatrical interpretations of Bizet's masterpiece, while reaching into its depths for meaning and exploring the nature of the myth of Carmen, deeply rooted in European culture. Szkotak moves the plot to the early 20th century, the days of the Spanish civil war.

The performance from Gliwice features the great artist Ma³gorzata Walewska as Carmen. Walewska is the best Polish interpreter of the role of Carmen and one of the most acclaimed Polish opera singers, who regularly appears at the world's leading opera houses. Italian tenor Marcello Bedoni takes the role of Don José. Bedoni is known in Poland mainly from his performances at the Wielki Theater in Warsaw.

The performance involves 140 artists, including two choirs: that of the GTM and the Music Academy in Katowice, and the whole ballet corps and the orchestra of the GTM conducted by Tomasz Biernacki.

Gliwice's Carmen met with an enthusiastic reception, confirmed by the Golden Mask award for Performance of the Year. That prompted GTM management's decision to produce a DVD recording, in conjunction with TVP public television in Katowice, of the opera in June 2007. The makers of the 166-minute film did their best to render the one-of-a-kind atmosphere of the performance, staged in an unusual theatrical space. The film, more than just a static recording, contributes to the artistic quality of the performance.

The performance was recorded in a French version, with Polish and English subtitles.
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