The more I sing Carmen, the more I learn about her, believe in her and love her, and the more I feel that I have to defend her.
After a long and interesting path of 15 different productions of this magnificent opera, I find myself almost sure of my relationship with Carmen and my knowledge of how I want her to be, and how I want to portray her.
In my most recent production, in Israel, I found that not only did I have to "defend" Carmen, the fictional woman, but also the Carmen whom I have created.
Judging from the misguided ideas of some Israeli critics , even the ones who didn't have the pre-notion that Carmen was a "whore", thought she *should* be at least the cliche that one expects to see from her.
I so resent it.
I also resent that the bigger and grander the production it is, the more I am expected to be part of that grandeur...
Carmen wasn't this man-killer monster, she was merely a woman, a girl. Sure she had courage, charisma, beauty and oozes sex appeal (for that she was so popular among the men), but, she was by no means a whore, or a bitch.
I was so lucky to have worked on one on my very first Carmens with the Genius director David McVicar, over a period of almost four months, (this opportunity, by the way, rarely happens in today's opera world anymore), creating an intimate Carmen that was real.
With such an important foundation, from such an immense teacher, I hope I never lose my integrity and tools, and I always try to maintain that core, and only grow from there.
Today, I *know* in my heart, that the Carmen I sing and act, is for sure what is in my best interests, as an artist , to show to my audience; Not their usual big-breasted, big voice, flamenco dancing- thigh rubbing, slow moving, vulgar cliche they mostly expect to see, but something else; more childish, girly, even shy sometimes. hurt. with a rainbow of emotions and colors; a human being, my friends.
What art is reflecting in its mirror is just us.