‘Carmen’ hits the Keith-Albee stage Feb. 20

Carmen_02-20-14Carmen, Georges Bizet’s well known masterpiece and operatic tour-de-force, comes to the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m.

For those who are interested in learning more about this masterpiece, there will be a pre-show opera chat beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Keith-Albee. This chat is free for those with a Carmen show ticket in hand. Audiences can join MU music professor Dr. Larry Stickler and Teatro Lirico D’Europa’s Artistic Director Giorgio Lalov as they provide insight into the passionate story of Carmen.

Carmen, the heroine of Bizet’s opera, which is often characterized as the essence of opera, is a gypsy woman who has been captivating hearts for nearly 250 years. Both dangerous and beautiful, an unpredictable femme fatale, she draws both Escamillo and Don José to her flame.

The story of Carmen takes place in mid-19th century Seville. Don José, who is training for priesthood in Basque country, murdered a man in a quarrel and has since enlisted in the Seville Army. His mother and Micaela, a woman who loves him and hopes to marry him, have followed him to the south. Micaela is in love with the soldier and expects to marry him. José loves her too, but at the same time is dazzled by the more passionate charms of the gypsy, Carmen. He goes to jail because he helps Carmen escape a fight she started. Meanwhile, Carmen has fallen in love with a bullfighter, Escamillo. Supported by a full orchestra, the opera fills the air with surprises and drama

Many media outlets have reviewed the opera as it tours the U.S. Richard Dyer of The Boston Globe wrote, “Last night’s performance of Carmen really cooked. Credit goes to the excellent Bulgarian ensemble of chorus and orchestra and two Americans in the starring roles. Kristin Chavez has sung the role at the New York City Opera. She’s physically and vocally limber, and revels in her femme-fatale look. She has a bright lyric mezzo with a strong top and sings with many a teasing, personal, and humorous inflection. She can play the castanets, and she acts up a storm, while always keeping her place in the ensemble effort.”

Bizet’s Carmen is sponsored by Community Trust Bank, KEE 100, WVHU, WSAZ, The Herald-Dispatch, Marshall University, and the Marshall Artists Series. For additional information or for tickets, contact the Marshall Artists Series Box Office at ext. 6-6656, or visit their box office located in the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse. Box office hours are Monday through Friday 12 p.m.-5 p.m.