WCSU Opera presents Bizet’s 'Carmen'

The WCSU Opera presented Georges Bizet’s “Carmen” in two performances on March 30 and 31, 2012.

The production was staged in Ives Concert Hall. Each performance was preceded by a brief lecture on the cultural and historical context of “Carmen” by Dr. Galina Bakhtiarova, assistant professor of Spanish and chair of the WCSU department of world languages and literature.

WCSU Professor of Music Dr. Margaret Astrup produced and directed the WCSU Opera presentation, with music performed by an orchestra conducted by Adjunct Professor of Music Eric Trudel. The opera was performed in French with English supertitles; spoken dialogue was delivered in English. The Blue Star Children’s Choir of St. Thomas Elementary School in Hamden was featured as the children’s chorus.

Bizet’s opera classic, set in the Spanish city of Seville and surrounding countryside around 1820, tells the tragic story of the beautiful and tempestuous gypsy Carmen, whose flirtations lead the army corporal Don Jose to abandon another woman and join a gang of gypsy smugglers to prove his loyalty to Carmen. Don Jose’s jealous rage when Carmen later spurns him for the toreador Escamillo sets the stage for his climactic murder of the opera’s heroine.

“The opera ‘Carmen’ brings with it such an air of excitement!” Astrup remarked. “Everyone is familiar with several of the tunes, including the famous ‘Habanera’ and ‘Toreador’ arias, but some might not know that these melodies come from this opera.

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A recent WCSU production of “Carmen” brought an air of excitement to the campus.