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Toledo Opera's 49th Season Opens with Carmen – The World's Most Popular Opera

Posted Sep 20th, 2007 by Renay Conlin  Category: Arts & Entertainment

 

Toledo Opera will open its 2007-2008 season with Carmen, Georges Bizet’s spine-tingling masterpiece. Carmen, thick with passion, love, and betrayal, is one of the world’s most performed operas. Carmen has proven herself a hit with generation after generation of opera goers, and it’s also a riveting experience for newcomers to opera. The strength of the story has inspired commercialization with the production of multiple feature films, even including an MTV hip-hop modernization of the classic tale starring Beyonce Knowles and Mekhi Phifer.

The story revolves around Carmen, a fiery and beautiful gypsy, who is opera’s ultimate femme fatale. Set in the city of Seville in the 1800’s, the seductive Carmen lures Corporal Don Jose away from his fiancée and his regiment. She eventually convinces him to run away with her and join a devious band of smugglers. Don Jose’s infatuation soon turns to madness when Carmen’s reckless and unfaithful ways lead her to fall for the dashing toreador Escamillo. Throughout the story, Carmen’s enticing nature causes the downfall of all the men who cross her path, creating a scintillating evening of theatre enhanced by a mesmerizing score.

Bizet, like many Western Europeans, was increasingly fascinated by the world outside of Western Europe, including the Middle East. The Middle Eastern woman, with her colorful veils, jewels, and bronzed beauty, was one of the popular images of the time. With this inspiration, Bizet wrote the score for Carmen, creating a score that depicts these exotic and alluring characters. Georges Bizet’s score remains timelessly affective with touches of Spanish flavor, including the haunting and famous “habanera.”

Performing the role of Carmen is mezzo-soprano Audrey Babcock, making her Toledo Opera debut. Ms. Babcock is a highly versatile singer who feels equally comfortable in tragedy or comedy. Recent performances include the title role in the Tobias Picker opera Therese Raquin with Dicapo Opera, Maddalena in Rigoletto and The Tragedy of Carmen with Florida Grand Opera. Tenor Adam Klein will bring to life the character of Don Jose, which he has already achieved at the Atlanta Opera. He has credits at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, and Opera Delaware. His discography includes Mime in Siegfried with the State Symphony of Russia on the Naxos label, and the Doctor in Robert Ashley’s Improvement: Don Leaves Linda on the Elektra/Nonesuch label. Baritone Adrian Gans will also be performing his role professionally for the second time. He previously played Escamillo in his New York City Opera debut in the fall of 2006. Shortly afterwards, he made his European debut as Tonio in Pagliacci at L’Opera de Nancy de Lorraine. He has received numerous awards and career grants upon the completion of his musical studies at the Manhattan School of Music. Korean soprano JiYoung Lee sings the role of Micaela. Ms. Lee most recently received critical acclaim for her performances with Washington National Opera in the role of Servilia in La Clemenza di Tito by Mozart. She will return to Washington National Opera to sing the role of Marie in La Fille du Régiment and make her debut with the Master Chorale at the Kennedy Center in Mozart’s C minor Mass. Grammy-award winning Thomas Conlin takes the podium as conductor, and Lawrence Edelson directs the action.

Everything about Toledo Opera’s production of Carmen is on a grand scale. From the large cast, chorus, dancers and orchestra, to the over 300 different costume looks, and the bold, clever sets by Eduardo Sicango. Carmen is sure to please audiences on a variety of levels.

Performances of Bizet’s Carmen are Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 7:30 pm, Friday, November 9, 2007 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, November 11 at 2:00 pm at the Valentine Theatre in downtown Toledo. Toledo Opera’s production of Carmen is presented with generous support from UBS and the Ohio Arts Council.

Single ticket prices for Bizet’s Carmen begin at $25.00 and may be purchased online at toledoopera.org or by phone at 419-255-SING (7464). Discounts are available for students, seniors, and groups of ten or more. Carmen will be sung in French with simultaneous English translations projected above the stage.

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Renay Conlin - Toledo Opera | 405 Jefferson Ave., Suite 601 | Toledo, OH 43604

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