Central City Opera’s “Carmen” is everything you want it to be, and then some — sexy, sultry and just a little sleazy. Its famous heroine uses and abuses just as she is known to do, teasing men and tempting fate until it all catches up to her in one violent moment.
As a production, it is pleasing and terrifically tight and ultra-traditional, just as its creators imagined it in 1875. Director Jose Maria Condemi has, for the most part, resisted messing with the formula as some like to do to keep familiar titles fresh for audiences who have seen them a dozen times or more. Instead, he has gone the opposite way, pushing his characters to feel and indulge in the nuances of composer Georges Bizet’s emphatic music. Everything, from the costumes to the sets to the singing, honors the opera’s lusty, lurid essence.