La Tragédie de Carmen

Georges Bizet/Marius Constant

Overview

Peter Brook’s and Marius Constant’s ground-breaking reimagining of Bizet’s beloved masterpiece strips the story down to its four principal characters, Carmen, Don José, Micaëla, and Escamillo. This 90-minute adaptation is visceral, sensual and explosive with a few surprises. Starring the members of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program with members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra.

Digital Premiere:

Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 7:30PM

Runtime: 

90 minutes

Sung in:

French with English Subtitles

DIGITAL SEASON SPONSOR 

DIGITAL SEASON SPONSOR

Ms. Martha Lou Henley, C.M.

Alan and Gwendoline Pyatt Foundation

Yoshiko Karasawa

Synopsis

Micaëla, a young country girl, arrives in Seville looking for her childhood sweetheart, Don José. She brings him a letter from his mother. A ‘gitano, Carmen, throws a flower to the young corporal and sings an erotic love song.

The two girls fight and José’s superior, Zuniga, appears. Unable to control Carmen, he orders José to take her to jail. En route, Carmen promises José that if he lets her escape she will meet him at the inn of her friend Lillias Pastia. José lets Carmen go, whereupon Zuniga locks him up and takes away the corporal’s rank. Carmen arrives at the inn with stolen goods. Zuniga comes to see Carmen and offers money for her favors. Carmen accepts, but shortly thereafter Jose enters.

Carmen abandons Zuniga and sings for José. At this moment the bugles blow, summoning José back to the barracks. Carmen is furious and taunts him; the situation becomes tense. José discovers Zuniga, loses control and kills the officer.

The body is quickly hidden as Escamillo, a famous bullfighter, enters. Buying drinks all around, he announces that he, too, wants Carmen. José, jealous, picks a fight with Escamillo. Carmen separates them and Escamillo withdraws, inviting all to his next bullfight.

José, who has now killed for Carmen, sings of his love for her. They go to the mountains where an old gypsy woman unites them.

While they are sleeping, Garcia appears at the camp. He is Carmen’s husband, though she has hidden his existence from José. The two men challenge each other and as they go off to fight, Carmen reads her tragic fate in the cards. The song ends, Garcia returns wounded and falls dead at Carmen’s feet.

Micaëla appears again searching for José; the two women seem to understand each other. They sing while José, twice a murderer and abandoned by Carmen, flees. Carmen becomes Escamillo’s mistress. José returns to persuade her to leave with him to start a new life. She refuses, knowing she is putting her life in jeopardy.

Escamillo is killed in the bullring. Carmen still refuses José’s offer, but she goes with him as far as the place where the cards have foretold that she will die. 

Credit: San Diego Opera company

Composer

Music by Georges Bizet/Marius Constant
Libretto by Peter Brook

Georges Bizet (October 25, 1838 – 3 June 3, 1875), born as Alexandre César Léopold Bizet, was a French composer of the Romantic era. Best known for his operas in a career cut short by his early death, Bizet achieved few successes before his final work, Carmen, which has become one of the most popular and frequently performed works in the entire opera repertoire. During a brilliant student career at the Conservatoire de Paris, Bizet won many prizes, including the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1857. He was recognised as an outstanding pianist, though he chose not to capitalise on this skill and rarely performed in public. Later commentators have acclaimed him as a composer of brilliance and originality whose premature death was a significant loss to French musical theatre.

Marius Constant

Marius Constant (February 7,1925 – May 15,2004) was a Romanian-born French composer and conductor. Although known in the classical world primarily for his ballet scores, his most widely known music was the iconic guitar theme for The Twilight Zone TV series. Constant was born in Bucharest, Romania, and studied piano and composition at the Bucharest Conservatory, receiving the George Enescu Award in 1944. In 1946, he moved to Paris, studying at the Conservatoire de Paris. Constant’s other compositions include “24 Preludes for Orchestra” (1959), a Piano Concerto (1957), a “Symphony for Winds” (1978), ballets, jazz, and improvisational music. Also, a noted conductor, he served as musical director for Roland Petit’s Paris Ballet (1956-66) and the Paris Opera Ballet (1973-78). He was awarded the title of Commandeur Légion d’honneur and inducted into the Académie des beaux-arts in December 1992.

Cast & Creative

Featuring the 2020-2021 Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists

Jonelle Sills

Soprano

Amanda Weatherall

Mezzo-Soprano

Ian Cleary

Tenor

Luka Kawabata

Baritone

Amy Seulky Lee

Pianist

Dana Fradkin

Stage Director

Get A Full Digital Season Of Opera

A subscription includes our full digital season for you and your household to enjoy from the comfort of your home.

Subscribe now