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In Review: Babcock and Ollarsaba in Bar Harbor "Carmen"

"Oh my. Let’s start with Carmen herself, sung with mesmerizing command by mezzo-soprano Audrey Babcock. One has to wonder what on earth Babcock would have done with her life if she hadn’t found opera and if Bizet hadn’t written this role for her. She is so perfectly suited for this demanding part, physically and vocally, that it’s hard to imagine her doing anything else but bringing this mercurial seductress to life on stage. Hard to imagine her singing any other role, for that matter. But this is because her acting is as compelling as her singing. It is probable that before the singer dons her costume each night before a Carmen performance, she is a perfectly amiable woman who wouldn’t dream of stealing your boyfriend. But once she drapes a gypsy shawl over her shoulders and sticks a rose in her dark lustrous curls, watch out! . . .

Right about then the tall, dark and handsome Richard Ollarsaba as the toreador Escamillio came striding in. Who cares what un-PC things he was probably saying? All the girls on stage got seriously fluttery and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only gray-haired lady in the audience who went a little weak in the knees as his deep, rumbly voice projected so thoroughly throughout the theater it felt as if he were singing right in your ear."

-Mount Desert Islander


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