Jorge Lavelli’s CARMEN – pour le television a Strasbourg, FRANCE
Conductor - Alain Lombard
Filmed by Mate Rabinowsky
LE MONDE - Paris
Jacques Lonchampt - CARMEN WITHOUT CHILI SAUCE!
“Carmen, whose destiny, so special, is engraved in her dazzling beauty. She is like a flower that bursts out in the middle of this trite humanity, with her sensual temperament and extraordinary tragedy. Such is Mara Baygulova, with her long admirable figure and features traced by an infallible brush. Death lies in the depth of her eyes, and her voice is deep with impressions of metal and velvet. Neither the mediocre soldier (Don Jose) nor the torero with his thunder-like voice are up to her standards. What can she possibly be doing among these anonymous low smugglers? She is the bull, the wild beast that knows herself liberated. This very vital force she will use to confront life and death fearlessly.”
CARMEN a Mulhouse - FRANCE
“Mara Baygulova is of Russian and Cherokee descent and has a strong presence of both. Black hair, sensual mouth, and a feline look. Her mezzo voice is marked with mature and sensitive tones, surely a true Carmen in every sense of the word.”
CARMEN avec l’Opera de Nantes
“The Carmen of Mara Baygulova was an interesting surprise. She sings magnificently! Her spicy voice, colored by her Russian and Cherokee Indian heritage, her flashing eyes, her long black hair, her depiction of the untamed Carmen’s personality are impressive. Her “Habanera” was one to inflame Jose. It was fashioned with passion, not mere sexiness.”
Theatre de la Monnaie - BRUSSELS
La Nouvelle Republique
“Mara Baygulova’s Carmen revealed a rich, theatrical temperament. She is fascinating. And her exceptional, animal – feline quality makes quite clear Carmen’s willingness to carry anyone who opposes her to damnation.”
LA DERNIERE HEURE - Brussels
“The lead is sung by the American, Mara Baygulova, a name that at first glance might one to think she is s Slav. As a matter of fact, the program informs us that she is of Russian descent on her father’s side, but that she also has Cherokee Indian blood in her veins. She is seductive, with an erotic rather than a sensual beauty. She has a real instinct for acting and for her role of CARMEN, which she plays in a very recognizable way, even though her Carmen is neither entirely Merimee’s or Bizet’s. Her sung French is almost perfect.”
LE SOIR - Brussels
“The Carmen of Mara Baygulova – a superb singer, proud, distant and ironic. She is a consummate actress, moving about with a feline grace, a detachment that constantly emphazes her loneliness, her being an outsider. And she sings with great understanding. At every moment one senses her refusal to get permanently involved, her reticence. One high point: the way she does the transition, after the flower song, from “La-bas, dans la montagne,” already clearly indicating her change of heart, her future decision to break with Don Jose. Or even her attitude toward Escamillo, more calculating than spontaneous.”
Star – Bulletin - “Samson Is a Blockbuster”
Dalila - SAMSON et DALILA
“Mara Baygulova possesses a voice of clarity and power and a compelling stage presence. Perhaps it is her training in Bach that spares us the vocal histrionics labeled “seductive” that leaser Dalilas might have attempted.
Her DALILA is a temptress of great dignity, almost aloof. As she sings her Spring Song to Samson in Act I, for instance, her pride and scorn are as apparent and as attractive as her sensuality.
Dalila’s high point musically indeed the musical climax of the opera, and everyone’s favorite moment, is her seduction aria in Act II, “Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix.” Baygulova is thrilling in this aria just as she is supremely mocking in her parody of the aria in Act III “Laisse-moi prendre ta main.”
Dalila - SAMSON et DALILA
“Mara Baygulova brings a smoothly flowing, clear-toned mezzo to the role of Delilah – or Dalila, as this offering in the original French has it. She is aloof in the first act; but warms to the dramatics of the second act, and her “vengeance” duet with the high priest is lyrical venom; her rendition of the big aria, “My Heart at Thy Sweet Voice,” is first-rate melodic seduction; it’s reprise in the last scene, brilliantly brazen sarcasm. With this voice and a figure to rival any of her dancing-girl attendants, she makes a dilly of a Delilah!