Babcock and Irvin impress in Fort Worth Opera "Carmen"

"Carmen as portrayed by mezzo Audrey Babcock would surely make you crawl out and take notice. Babcock certainly did seem to have that effect on the audience in Fort Worth on opening night. She’s no stranger to the role and it showed. Babcock’s voice made one want to put sultry in all caps. She was engaged and reacted to every movement and person on the stage at all times. . . Babcock’s acting skills and voice carried the performance of the strong minority woman. . . Another lover in Carmen’s lineup was the Toreador, Escamillo sung by Craig Irvin, a tall drink of a baritone who strutted and sang as commandingly as a bullfighter should."

Read full review. "Obviously, command of the technical aspects are the essential element of Carmen (or any other operatic role, for that matter); Babcock brings a richly textured, flexible voice with a distinctive and immediately recognizable tone quality. And she proved equally attuned to the emotional and psychological elements. In comments published in the program book, she refers to the “confrontation with sexuality” that is at the heart of Carmen; with an almost acrobatic energy and physical flexibility, she brings front and center that central element of Carmen: the id-driven seductress whose power to attract overwhelms rational thought. . . For his part, Irvin brought an appropriate brilliance and physical presence that played well against Babcock’s Carmen. Though each generation finds new secrets in Carmen, Escamillo never changes: he needs a decent dynamic range, a sturdy swagger, and a beautiful, smooth vocal quality, all of which Irvin brought to the table."

Read full review. "In fact, mezzo Audrey Babcock, singing Carmen, and tenor Robert Watson as Don José created the most effective final scene I have ever encountered. It was well-sung and gripping as drama." -Fort Worth Star-Telegram Read full review.