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Preview: Bizet’s Carmen by Singapore Lyric Opera

Screenshot 2019-06-14 at 6.40.18 PM

You can’t keep a good opera down, and this August, Singapore Lyric Opera (SLO) brings back classic work Bizet’s Carmen for the fourth time, directed by SLO Artistic Director Nancy Yuen.

Previously performed in 1998, 2002 and 2011, Carmen tells the story of the intriguing world of smugglers, cigarette factory workers, soldiers and most importantly, the bold, gorgeous, fiery and free-spirited titular Romani woman at the centre of the entire play, promising dance, fights and dazzling visuals while the passionate musical drama springs into life.

Set in Seville in the south of Spain, a beguiling and eccentric cigarette factory worker, Carmen, is caught between a jealous corporal, Don José, and a philanderer, Escamillo. Their brewing passions entangle them in a tempestuous relationship which culminates in one of opera’s most gripping finales. The four-act opera with music by Georges Bizet and libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy is sung in French, and will have English and Chinese surtitles.

Arguably the most popular opera today, with this revival of Carmen, the SLO aims to reach out to a wider audience base and bring forth the message that opera can be accessible, even to opera first-timers, while still drawing in opera lovers. Says director Nancy Yuen: “Carmen lives life to the fullest. She loves, she works, she fights, and she knows that somehow a dark destiny awaits. Femme fatale fits her description most aptly – she uses her sexuality to get what she wants. Don José, the soldier, falls for her and Escamillo, the charismatic toreador, adores her. Carmen is simply a power house! I look forward to sharing my take on this captivating character complemented with the most glorious music with the Singapore audience.”

Performed by about 120 performers, including the main cast, SLO Chorus and SLO Children’s Choir, dancers, supers and orchestral musicians, expect to hear famous arias such as the “Habanera” and the “Toreador Song”, musical standards that have exceeded their place in the opera world to gain fame outside of it, regularly referenced in popular culture from radio to television to film. Instantly recognisable even to non-opera goers, these songs are set to evoke both nostalgia and adrenaline when heard live in their full operatic glory, only when you come hear it sung at the Esplanade Theatre with the SLO’s latest revival of Bizet’s Carmen. 

Bizet’s Carmen plays from 30th August to 1st September 2019 at the Esplanade Theatre. Tickets available from SISTIC

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