WCSU Opera to present Bizet’s “Carmen” March 30 and 31
Talk on opera's cultural context will precede performance
DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Opera will present Georges Bizet’s “Carmen” in two performances at WCSU at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 30, and Saturday, March 31, 2012.
The WCSU Opera production will be staged in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Each performance will be 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.
General admission will be $15, with a price of $10 for seniors and for children 12 and under; WCSU students will be admitted at no charge with a valid ID. Advance reservations and ticket information are available online at www.wcsu.edu/tickets, or by calling (203) 837-TIXX. Tickets also will be sold at the door. The production is sponsored by the WCSU School of Visual and Performing Arts.
WCSU Professor of Music Dr. Margaret Astrup is the producer and director of the WCSU Opera presentation, with music performed by an orchestra conducted by Adjunct Professor of Music Eric Trudel. The opera will be performed in French with English supertitles; spoken dialogue will be delivered in English. The Blue Star Children’s Choir of St. Thomas Elementary School in Hamden will be 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.
“It’s a huge project for us, but this year we have the resources to cast it and preparing it has been a very exciting process,” she said. “The enthusiastic commitment shown by the students has been energizing for all of us who are working to put this production together.”
Both performances will feature WCSU senior Cidalia Alves, of Stamford, in the title role of Carmen and Daniel Juarez, of North Branford, a graduate of the Yale University opera program, in the lead tenor role of Don Jose.
Other major roles in the opera will be shared by two performers, each cast to appear in one of the two productions. Featured in the role of Micaela will be Emily Thiel, of Prospect, and Benedetta Cordaro, of Stamford. The roles of Escamillo and Corporal Morales will be shared by Brendan Stone, of Wolcott, and Jean Carlos Rodriguez, of Waterbury. Cast in the roles of El Remendado and El Dancairo will be Zachary Ross, of Branford; David Sylvia, of Stratford; Erick Sanchez, of Stamford; and D’Andre Fontanelle, of Danbury. Rachel Pelchat, of Litchfield, and Jilian Saber, of Redding, will play the role of Frasquita; Sarah Petersen, of West Hartford, and Ashley Zadravecz, of Fairfield, will perform the role of Mercedes. Matthew Popp, of Orange, will appear both evenings in the role of Zuniga.
The WCSU Alumni Association will host a “Night at the Opera” dinner and theater package on Friday, March 30. A reservation fee of $35 per person will include a catered buffet dinner at 5:30 p.m. in Warner Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, and admission to the “Carmen” performance. Reservations will be accepted through March 23; for information, call the WCSU Alumni Office at (203) 837-8298.
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