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From "Carmen Clicks at Prelude to Performance," by Susan Hall

"The standout this evening was Ben Werley, a young tenor who richly developed the role of Don Jose His muffled passion is inflamed early on by jealousy. When Escamillo arrives at the gypsy camp in the mountains, and Carmen declares herself to him, Don Jose takes her between his knees as he holds her to the ground, and throttles her. Carmen does not have a future. This is clear even before she is dealt death by prophetic Tarot cards."

"Werley’s lines are lyric, but his huge voice with a helden edge suggests that memorable combination of Jon Vicker’s and even Johan Botha’s. Like the singer who is the moving force behind the Prelude to Performance, Werley can be called ‘spinto’ in his highly dramatic presentation. He is handsome and a very good actor, developing the rage and fury of Jose, who can sometimes seem wimpish. This Don is unusually emboldened by jealousy. One has the sense that Werley will develop into a major tenor in the roles for which Vickers and Botha excelled. His barrel chest reminds you of the source of the greats’ instruments."

 Read the whole review here:


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