ZHIGUANG HONG AS ESCAMILLO
KELLY HILL AS CARMEN
With the exotic setting of Seville, a swirl of flamenco skirts, a splash of Spanish flavor, the introduction of one of the stage’s most tempting seductresses and the downfall of the soldier who is the object of her womanly wiles, no wonder the opera “Carmen” by Georges Bizet is such a wildly popular success.
Performed in Paris in 1875, it shocked its initial audiences and Bizet died shortly thereafter, never knowing of its grand international achievement, one it accomplished in the next decade. Written in the style of opera comique, it has been credited with being the bridge that crossed the existing tradition into the new level of realism or verismo that occurred late in the 19th century of Italian opera.
You have the opportunity to be personally seduced by the gypsy herself as Opera Theater of Connecticut inaugurates its fourth decade of enchanting entertainment with “Carmen” at Andrews Memorial Theater, 54 East Main Street, Clinton for your air-conditioned pleasure. Performance dates areTuesday, August 9, Thursday, August 11, and Saturday, August 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, August 14 at 6 p.m. The skills and talents of General Director Kate Ford, Production Director Alan Mann and Music Director Kyle Swann and their fine ensemble of operatic performers will be evident in every glorious moment of this four act masterpiece.Come hear Kelly Hill capture the spirit of Carmen who flashes her charms to entice the affections of her jailer, the corporal Don Jose, the fiery Daniel Juarez. When Carmen loses interest in him, and shifts her affections and attentions to the romantic toreador Escamillo, portrayed by Zhiguang Hong, the action is complicated by Carmen’s boredom with Don Jose and her refusal to join the smugglers Duncaire and Rememdado, sung by Dean Murphy and Lucas van Lierop, who urge her to help them.Meanwhile Don Jose forgets his sweetheart Micaela, played by Rochelle Bard, making her debut with the company, who witnesses her marriage plans dissolve. Carmen continues to toy with Don Jose’s obsession, getting him in trouble with the officer Zuniga, portrayed by Luke Scott, much to the amusement of Carmen’s friends at the cigarette factory Frasquita and Mercedes, played by Jenna Siladie and Amy Maude Helfer. Incensed by Carmen’s rejection, in favor of the heroic matador and the superior officer Zuniga, Don Jose stabs and kills the woman he professes to love.For tickets ($50, seniors $45, under 18 $35), call Opera Theater of CT at 860-669-8999 or go to www.operatheaterofct.org to download an order form to fax or mail to the office using a credit card or PayPal. Boxed suppers from Chips' Pub III can be reserved for $15 in advance and enjoyed on the theater lawn, while Artistic Director Alan Mann presents an Opera Talk for $5, a half hour before curtain to further your appreciation of the performance.Let the gypsy Carmen entice you with her charms as she dances the seductive seguidilla and has soldiers, Don Jose and Zuniga, and the bullfighter Escamillo all competing for her affections.