LA TRAGÉDIE DE CARMEN
by Georges Bizet/Marius Constant
A story unhinged by jealousy
Digital Premiere: Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 7:30PM
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.
Runtime: 90 minutes.
Sung in French with English subtitles.
Only available streaming with a 2020–2021 Vancouver Opera Digital Season Subscription. Learn more.
CASTING AND PERFORMANCES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
Georges Bizet (25 October 1838 – 3 June 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 (7 February 1925 – 15 May 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.
A mild-mannered man comes to the music shop on an urgent mission – to purchase music for a song that his wife has been requested to sing at the wedding of the prince. Unfortunately, he cannot remember the title or the tune. What ensues are hallucinations of the rage of his Wagnerian soprano wife, his own unhappy fate when he returns empty-handed and a mad scramble through the entire stock of ‘the largest collection of music in all of Russia’ in a desperate attempt to recognise the requested melody in the ill-fated music shop.
MUSIC YOU NEED TO HEAR
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.
Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera had its world premiere in Montreal, Quebec in 2017. It was created to mark the 375th anniversary of Montreal, as it was after a concert at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium in 1977 that Roger Waters got the idea for The Wall.
Pictured: Étienne Dupuis as Pink at the world premiere of Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera in Montreal in 2017.
CAST & CREATIVE
Director: Sarah Jane Pelzer
Sarah Jane Pelzer is a Canadian stage director and teacher based in Vancouver, BC. Her style and strength lie in helping singers find strong, clear, purposeful characters who are capable of pathos or comedy at any moment. With a background in acting and classical voice, she has made it her mission in life to help singers work access acting skills in a way that makes sense to them, using the tools they have. (And some they don't know they have, yet). She has directed, assisted and taught across the country at Vancouver, Edmonton and Manitoba Opera, Opera on the Avalon, Pacific Opera Victoria, the Victoria Conservatory.
Music Director: Leslie Dala
Maestro Leslie Dala is Associate Conductor and Chorus Director of Vancouver Opera, Music Director of the Vancouver Bach Choir and Music Director Emeritus of the Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Program Director of VO’s Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program and host of Vancouver Opera's biweekly podcast Vancouver Opera Offstage. He recently conducted Vancouver Opera productions of La Cenerentola (2019), Madama Butterfly (2016), Albert Herring (2013), The Magic Flute (2013), and The Marriage of Figaro (2017), the world premieres of VO-commissioned operas, Stickboy (2014) and The Overcoat – a musical tailoring (2018), and the world premiere of large-scale oratorio The River of Light (2019).