Review: BalletMet's Carmen

Jay Weitz, Columbus Alive

How appropriate that the Italian choreographer with the poetically reflexive name of Amedeo Amodio would conceive his "Carmen" as a ballet that reflects off a production of Georges Bizet's opera.

Amodio's ballet opens with the tragic final scene of the opera, followed by some backstage tomfoolery by the opera's staff. The opera's emotions remain so powerful, according to Amodio's conception, that some of the workers adopt the personas and suffer the fates of the opera's characters.

In BalletMet's current production, that theatrical sleight of hand comes off seamlessly, as does the rest of Amodio's sensuous and ultimately understated ballet. In fact, prestidigitation plays a large role in the cleverest of Amodio's duets.

Don Jose (Jackson Sarver on Sunday, although casts vary) is assigned to guard Carmen (Olivia Clark), who has been arrested for fighting with Don Jose's intended, Micaela (Emily Ramirez). He ties Carmen's hands together with a scarf, giving her the means to lock him into her embrace and complete her act of seduction. Over the course of their duet, Carmen works the scarf onto one of Don Jose's hands, binding the two lovers together. Finally, both of his hands end up bound and Carmen's work is done.

When Carmen dumps Don Jose for the almost comically self-infatuated bullfighter Escamillo (Andres Estevez), all of the pieces fall into place for the unexpectedly quiet but effective conclusion.

Like Nigel Burgoine's ballet version in 1994 and David Nixon's in 1997, Amodio's "Carmen" seduces Columbus audiences.

Capitol Theatre, Riffe Center

77 S. High St, Downtown

Through Nov. 12