So Elina Garanca is amazing. She’s an amazing singer, but also, watch her acting in this scene. She doesn’t sing/say anything, but just watch her.
Context: Carmen seduces the soldier Don Jose and he ends up going to jail for her for two months. He gets out and meets her at this bar, which they’d arranged for. So he gets there and she sings and dances for him, but then he hears the bugle calls to report for military roll call. She goes off on him about how he wouldn’t even think of leaving if he really loved her. To her surprise, he reacts by getting serious like this and singing this song.
So he sings to her about how he kept the flower she gave him when she first picked him out of a crowd and went for him. Even though Carmen doesn’t say or sing anything… watch how she reacts. She’s maintaining her composure, even though she’s feeling a little bit about what he’s saying, she starts to smile, but doesn’t. Then at about 2:30, when he sings that even though he’d begun to hate her and wish he hadn’t met her, he realized that his only wish and his only hope was to see her again. Watch how she’s touched, and she likes hearing it… but then she’s also scared that he’s making her feel that way…. and then she’s also scared by how intense his passion is. Watch how she looked towards the door for that one point. This whole time, she’s trying to regain her composure. And then he says, “I am completely yours,”… and watch how her expression becomes calculating. She decides she can still manipulate him. Then watch how she softens again … how much of her decision is calculating manipulation, and how much of it is desire to hear these things from him again?
Just… how much she says with just her face.
Honestly, if I ever get to the point in drawing comics where I can communicate that much emotion without words… that’s a goal.
(This recording was done in 2010. There is a DVD available, or you can watch it on the Met Opera streaming app, which I recommend because it has a lot of great videos and audio recordings. I need to make a list of my favorites and post that here. That app is definitely worth subscribing to, but if you don’t want to do that, definitely get a free trial and watch this. The 2010 one. There’s also a 2014 recording of the same production, but this one is better. And see it live, if you’re around New York. It’s coming back next season, though not with the same singers.
Here she is as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier with Renee Fleming, in a new production which is coming next season. Needless to say, I’m ridiculously excited for this. It looks amazing.