Sunday, November 5, 1995 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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`Carmen' Draws Strong Response

Editor, The Times:

The headline for Melinda Bargreen's review of Seattle Opera's mutilation of Bizet's "Carmen" (The Times, Oct. 23) was profoundly accurate: "Opera on the edge . . ." On the edge indeed; on the edge of getting up and walking out in disgust, on the edge of giving up on opera as a bastion of civility and culture and dropping my season tickets.

But where were these warnings of adult content Bargreen mentioned? The Seattle Opera magazine sent in advance to patrons said naught in regard to this staging. I may be hopelessly out of step, but I was not aware that operas now needed ratings like the now-tarnished silver screen. Had I known, I might have spared myself this vulgar display.

"Shock value, pushing the envelope" - what good is it when we are already numb, and the envelope no longer has any power to enlighten or restrain the self-destructive proclivities inherent in any free society? This "Carmen" exudes violence and vulgarity, but you don't ameliorate evil by wallowing in it.

If this was ". . . not your father's Carmen," and at the same time for "adults only," of what value other than tasteless titillation is it? I would be ashamed to take my mother, and afraid to take my child. I don't think this was what Bizet had in mind. Diana Oberti,


Copyright (c) 1995 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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