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‘Carmen’ pours passion and drama onto the stage



The passion and drama of “Carmen” will pour forth on the concert stage of the California Center for the Arts on three days on two November weekends.

Georges Bizet’s most popular opera will be performed by the Pacific Lyric Association’s cast in a two-hour tem­pest of love, jealousy and violence.

The title role is being sung by Teresa Hughes Oliva, who brings years of opera experience to the role of the cigarette- factory worker and seductress of not-so- innocent men.

She will do her darndest on poor Don Jose, a cavalry corporal, portrayed by Chad Frisque, who in real life is an alumnus of the San Diego Opera.

The great music of Carmen is embod­ied in the diva’s arias “La Habanera” and “Sequidilla.”

Tenor Chad Frisque, as Jose, will respond during his courtship with “La fleur que tu m’avais jetee,” or “The flower that you threw me” in plain Eng­lish. The poor guy will be supplanted by a Toreador named Escamillo, played by Bernardo Bermudez, who will sing his heart out in praise of Carmen.

Bermudez is a veteran lyric baritone with a long list of starring operatic roles.

The love triangle, complicated by an­other soprano, Micaela, comes to a trag­ic end, as one would expect. Micaela is played by Deborah Mayhan,



who solos with the Los Angeles Master Chorale.

The San Diego Master Chorale will populate the opera stage for its crowd scenes and provide rousing choruses and colorful garb.

In case the audience is having trouble with purported Spaniards speaking and emoting musically in French the produc­tion has added “gypsy” interpreters who, thankfully, convey the plot in English.

Here it is: Don Jose is promised to the young Micaela, but he falls in love with the seductive Carmen. He rebels against his superior officers and joins a smuggling ring in pursuit of the beauti­ful woman.

Carmen grows tired of Jose and falls for the Escamillo, who woos her with the “Toreador Song,” which is one of the most familiar songs in opera.

The bullfighter, corporal, Carmen and Micaela, and smugglers meet in the mountains and do a lot of singing. Jose, rejected and despised by Carmen, de­parts to see his dying mother.

He returns to Seville and confronts Carmen as the bullfighter is triumphing in the bull ring. Jose stabs Carmen and seals his fate by confessing to the crime.

The opera will be performed at 7 p.m. Saturday Nov. 21 and Friday Nov. 27 and at 3 p.m. Sunday Nov. 29 at the Cali­fornia Center for the Arts, 3 Half-price tickets are available.

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