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Greg’s decision to return to full-
The Summer of 2016 brought an invitation to sing with an opera company where it was possible to co-
Carmen has become one of the most globally performed operas but it nearly nearly did not survive the original opening week in 1875. Paris audiences were unimpressed; the work broke loose from the classical French style of the time and even worse had a character of dubious morals playing the title role.
Greg sung the title role of Carmen in an all male production of CarMen across July and August in Rochester, London, Hinckley and Manchester.
CarMen was performed as part of a Gender Project that challenged traditional gender stereotypes in opera by casting according to the vocal suitability of the singer rather than by gender. The works recognised and highlighted the place of LGBT relationships in history and culture, even though they are not openly acknowledged in the setting and plotlines of most operas; casting operatic heterosexual relationships as homosexual or lesbian, showing that love and devotion are universal and not limited to traditional perceptions.
Carmen has traditionally been about the worst kind of love; the love of possession and jealousy, of lust and violence. Whilst almost everyone will recognise some of the music the plot may be less familiar. In the traditional opera Carmen is a gypsy who works in a factory, singing that anyone who loves her should beware. When arrested over a fight she seduces Jose, a soldier, to get away; causing him to be imprisoned for allowing her to escape. Seeking out Carmen on his release he joins the band of smugglers she has taken up with, abandoning his mother, his sweetheart and his career. But Carmen quickly bores of his affection and takes up with a bullfighter. In a jealous rage Jose murders her. In the production that Greg appeared in Carmen was a burlesque dancer and Jose a sexually confused man who had led a life dominated by the strict religious upbringing imposed on him by his widowed mother. A farm worker, José had come from the country to 1920’s Seville to get a glimpse of the young burlesque dancer he has idolised from afar, Carmen. But José has a rival for his affections, just as he has in the traditional version of the opera, rather than a toreador in this version Escamillo is an exotic dancer. Finally, and as always, Carmen pays the ultimate price for initially encouraging the adoration of, but eventually spurning José.
Carmen’s iconic aria has been part of Greg’s repertoire for some time. It was part of his song set when he performed his Night of Classics tour, singing it in its original French. The production that Greg toured with was performed in English. Greg has also arranged and recorded a version of the aria. Perhaps he was destined to play..
“......wonderful, beautiful performances by excellent performers telling the story of Don Jose and Carmen's relationship through Don Jose's eyes. It's not a story about LGBT themes, or about sex and violence and nudity. It's about love, longing, loss, beauty, jealousy, choices, mistakes, desire, hatred, rage, passion. It's about people.”
“Greg Pritchard's stunning high notes soared as Carmen”