The Pittsburgh Opera’s March 24 dress rehearsal of the opera was so polished, I almost forgot it was a rehearsal. The mezzo-soprano voice of Zanda Švēde, who holds the starring role of Carmen, filled the Benedum Center and contrasted with the tenor voice of Scott Quinn’s Don José as much as their two characters. The orchestra, conducted by Antony Walker, accompanied the opera singers with some of Carmen’s most recognizable melodies, "Habanera" and the "Toreador Song," stuck in my head even now.
Between these stellar performances, members of the orchestra chatted, one even watching a college basketball game between musical instruments.
Only once was I taken out of the storyline, when one of the directors stood up in a panic. “What am I doing? I’m supposed to be backstage!”
Pittsburgh Opera’s Carmen (pittsburghopera.org/season/carmen) opens Sat., March 26 at 8 p.m., with subsequent performances on Sun., March 29 and April 1 and 3.