Bryan Hymel, “reigning American tenor du jour in the French repertory,” joined Washington National Opera for his house debut in Bizet’s Carmen (Washington Post). Returning to the role of Don José, Bryan triumphs as the troubled character, who “has the greatest journey from straightlaced soldier to crazed killer and has the gravitas to pull it off and the pipes too” (DCMetroTheaterArts).
Bachtrack praises Bryan’s “transition from respectable soldier to scruffy outsider to lawless killer,” remarking that “his high B flat to end the Flower Song was movingly quiet, evoking that ‘loss of tenor force’ of which Parker speaks, as he submits to Carmen’s sway. By the end, he gets his (vocal and actual) force back by exerting violence on her.”
The American tenor is celebrated for his moving performances, and “changes easily between abject devotion (both to Carmen and initial sweetheart Michaëla) and threatening rate, so that fear for Carmen’s life becomes not only realistic but extremely palpable in the final moments (MDTheaterGuide).