Bringing Carmen to life
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UNLV Opera Theater kicks off classic musical tragedy on March 16
You might not have seen the opera Carmen by George Bizet, but you’re probably familiar with its music. TV commercials — from Doritos to Pepsi and most recently, Subway, feature this classic’s tunes.
This weekend, students will have an opportunity to see the UNLV Opera Theater and Symphony Orchestra bring Carmen and its music to life.
The opera takes place in Seville, Spain during the 1820s and centers around Carmen, a gypsy working in a cigarette factory, as she falls in love with Don Jose, a soldier who is passing through town. In the beginning, Don Jose wants nothing to do with Carmen, but eventually he falls in love with her — But Carmen isn’t the kind of character that settles for a fairy tale ending. Instead, she gets tired of Don Jose and ends up interested in a bullfighter who comes into town.
“Carmen is the kind of person that wants you until she gets you, and then she doesn’t want you anymore,” said LaToya Lain who plays Carmen.
But for Linda Lister, stage director and choreographer, Carmen is more than that.
“I see her as women sort of ahead of her time,” Lister said. “She’s always truly authentic and she always says the truth. She never lies to anybody. Just the honesty of her character and the belief in herself, even thought it leads her to a bad end, makes her a fascinating character,” Lister said.
The rest of the story centers around the character’s tragic love triangle, but the conflict between the characters isn’t the only amusing aspect the audience can expect to see in Carmen.
“It’s a colorful production in terms of costume. The music and the melodies are so catchy, everyone knows them — they are on commercials and movies. Even if they’ve never been to an opera they’ll recognize the music. It’s a great spectacle in terms of the passion of the characters and the audience can expect amazing singing, too,” Lister said. “There’s something for everyone I think. It’s a good first opera. If you never been to an opera this is very accessible and it’s very passionate.”
Lain also said that this opera takes emotions to the extreme. “You’ll see a lot of dancing and laughing and you’ll also see death and a lot of grief, and a lot of pain and agony. There are extreme emotions to look for and beautiful beautiful music. Think reality TV with music that would sweep you out of your feet” she said.
“Carmen” opens March 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall. Tickets are $5 to students with rebel card, $25 adults, and $15 seniors/military/UNLV staff and faculty. For purchasing information visit pac.unlv.edu.