During the first two acts of "Carmen," which was all we could stomach before we walked out, there was a barmaid on stage who--when not gulping whisky or flashing her underwear--was trying to sing.
There also was a sort of a bank teller in a beige polyester suit and tie making a short appearance as a bullfighter waving a coat in the air.
There were people in brown shirts and women in foxhole garb running in and out of the scene en masse without any purpose that we could make out. It might have been a rerun of a "Bridge Too Far," but "Carmen" it wasn't.
"Carmen" in our memory is a glorious lady with raven hair and a rose in her teeth and fire in her eyes, standing amidst those white adobe walls in a sun-drenched village in Spain and singing her heart out. We saw it in Germany many years ago and the audience was so thrilled that carnations and roses rained down from the balconies. It was one of the great opera experiences of our lives.
We have looked forward to the opening of the opera season here. What a monumental disappointment. We are trying to forget that it ever happened and are grateful that we did not get tickets for our children, whom we originally wanted to introduce to the world of opera with a visit to "Carmen."