We don’t get much chance in Northern Ireland to see live grand opera and for one simple reason: it is hugely expensive to mount big productions of the 19th and 20th century operatic repertoire.
Each year in Belfast, the Grand Opera House manages to bring in one or two highly subsidised touring companies from the UK and the Waterfront Hall also tries to do its bit by importing, at best, second-rate productions. You get what you pay for.
So if you need your operatic tanks topped up in between live performances, an evening at the cinema is a good substitute, especially if you’re going to see a top-class production.
On Sunday, April 19 at 7pm in Queen’s Film Theatre, George Fleeton will introduce Bizet’s ever popular Carmen. Billed as “a Carmen of heaving corsets and glittering toreadors — where all the women are raven-tressed and all the men loose-hipped”, it’s a Royal Opera House performance directed by Francesca Zambello, conducted by Antonio Pappano, starring Anna Caterina Antonacci, Jonas Kaufmann, Ildebrando D'Arcangelo and Norah Amsellem.
There’s no dress code and the show lasts about two and a half hours.