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Carmen to be Staged in Post-Industrialist America
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Russian mezzo-soprano Aigul Akhmetshina started performing folk songs of her native Bashkortostan, Rusia, while a toddler. She left home at 14 to study singing, supporting herself by handing out flyers while walking on stilts. COURTESY: Met HD and Sun Valley Opera and Broadway
   
Friday, January 26, 2024
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

“Carmen,” one of the most frequently staged operas in the world, will take to the silver screen on Saturday as the Metropolitan Opera presents a live simulcast of the Bizet opera.

The screening, presented by Sun Valley Opera and Broadway, will start at 10:55 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, at the Magic Lantern Cinemas in Ketchum.

The opera revolves around a gypsy seductress who doesn’t play by society’s rules as she seduces one man, then another.

She has become a defining female cultural figure, and the opera’s “Habanera” and “Toreador Song” are among the most well known and frequently sung of all operatic arias.

The opera caused a scandal at its premiere as French audience was shocked and scandalized. Composer Georges Bizet died after the 33rd performance, never realizing that his opera would become a triumphal success.

English director Carrie Cracknell will reinvigorate the classic story by moving the action to the modern day in an American cigarette factory-turned munitions factory. And, while the opera was first staged in 1875, its issues of gendered violence, abusive labor structures and the desire to break through societal boundaries, remain as relevant as ever.

Twenty-seven-year-old Russian mezzo-soprano Aigul Ahkmetshina will play the volatile title role, alongside tenor Piotr Beczala, who will play Carmen’s jealous lover Don Jose, who is a rodeo champion rather than a bullfighter in this version. Soprano Angel Blue will play the loyal Micaela and bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen, the swaggering Escamillo. Daniele Rustioni will conduct the heart-pounding score.

Tickets can be purchased at the door. The Magic Lantern takes cash only.

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