Opus Concert Theatre Unveils New Adaptation of the Classic Opéra-Comique Carmen with new Concert Version

Carmen—Vive la Liberté (Long Live Freedom) by Bizet, Mérimée, Cantrelle

Artistic Director Diana Cantrelle translates from the original Mérimée novella
and restores original dialogue as Bizet intended

Columbia, MD — May 3, 2017: Opus Concert Theatre artistic director Diana Cantrelle has completed work on an updated version of French composer Georges Bizet’s classic opera, Carmen. The new version restores the spoken dialogue between musical numbers as intended by the composer. Cantrelle returned to the original story to flesh out important elements adding authenticity to Opus Concert Theatre’s production.

“When you read the book by Prosper Mérimée, you realize that Don José is a dangerous guy,” says Cantrelle. “His fellow soldiers are a rough and tumble crowd and the smugglers whom Carmen befriends live life on the edge, where being a cut-throat is necessary for survival. Don José inspires fear among both of these groups. The opera emphasizes his reaction to being cast aside by Carmen and he comes off like a wimp. It’s important to realize who this newly minted soldier is at his core, to realize the effect that Carmen has had on him and why Carmen would be attracted to him.”

In 1875 Paris, Bizet originally wrote and premiered Carmen with spoken dialogue, but after his untimely death a few months later, Ernest Guiraud adapted the dialogue into recitative. In recent decades, various opera companies have performed Carmen with the original dialogue, but this production goes a step further—streamlining the work and returning to the original Mérimée to draw greater depth from the principal characters.

“Back in 1875, the best a woman could hope for was to marry well,” adds Cantrelle. “Carmen breaks all the rules—she’s a self-styled entrepreneur who enjoys sex, and lives a life remaining true to herself. These values speak to us today, which is why I added a monologue for her titled “At what cost is Freedom?” Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy this concert opera version of Carmen—Vive La Liberté on two Sundays in June.

The newly created work, entitled “Carmen—Vive la Liberté” (© 2017) will be performed at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center on June 11 and 18 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children, students and seniors. Tickets may be purchased at the door, by phone 301-377-0563 or online through EventBrite.

Opus Concert Theatre is an opera and musical theatre company based in Columbia MD and made its debut in 2016 with Dido and Aeneas at the Slayton House Theatre in Columbia. The company’s next production, Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” will be presented November 30, December 2 and December 3 at the Slayton House Theatre in Columbia.