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Opera Kelowna season

Opera Kelowna presents its 2018 summer production of Georges Bizet’s Carmen, running August 16 to 19, 2018 at the Kelowna Community Theatre. A heart-wrenching story of fiery passions and desperate acts, the luscious work overflows with some of opera’s best-known arias, such as Habanera and the Toreador Song. The production’s illustrious cast and creative team were announced at a special event at Kelowna’s new Porsche Dealership on February 14, and features the anticipated return of conductor Bernard McDonald and the Opera Kelowna debut of award-winning theatre & opera director Amiel Gladstone. In addition to the main stage production, the company will share special concerts and events throughout the Okanagan.

Set in Spain, though written and sung in French, Carmen follows the story of a flirtatious and hot-tempered Gypsy seductress, who steals the hearts of an army officer, Don José, and bullfighter, Escamillo. Its four acts begin with the titular temptress attacking another woman in the streets of Seville, then convincing Don José to let her go free. Act Two sees the nomad and her companions raising rabble at a cantina, having a chance encounter with the toreador Escamillo, and ultimately reconnecting with Don José, convincing him to abandon the army and join her in living the gypsy life. Don José decides to follow this course – and sets events in motion that whisk audiences to a smugglers hideout in the mountains and on to a bloody final confrontation outside a bullfighting arena.

Opera Kelowna’s production of Carmen will be staged in a fantastical, exaggerated modern setting and take on the flavour of the inner-city with an aesthetic similar to the street art of Banksy. JESSIE Award-winning costume and set designer Drew Facey will create an animated contemporary setting. Makeup artist Missy MacKintosh will incorporate body tattooing, while master cutter Keren Huyter will design corsets, all with a cutting-edge, modern take on steam punk style. The production will draw particular focus on nomadic global residents, immigration and urbanization, which are all relevant themes in today's world.

As the 2018 season will double the number of main stage performances to four, Opera Kelowna will embrace the tradition of double casting lead roles. Alternating in the title role are mezzo-soprano
Barbara King, a celebrated artist who has been seen with Calgary and Edmonton Opera, as well as Opera Kelowna’s In the Park and Under the Stars concert series; and Suzanne Lommler, an American mezzo-soprano who makes her Opera Kelowna debut. Lommler’s stellar voice has rung out with Chicago’s Haymarket Opera, Italy’s Spoleto Festival, and the Glyndebourne Festival Opera.

A series of free concerts and community engagements will support and inform Carmen’s run. These include:

Carmencita: Opera Kelowna’s Annual Gala - May 26 at 6pm ~ Okanagan Innovation Centre

Opera Under the Stars - August 1 at 8:30pm ~ UBCO Kelowna

Opera in the Park Festival:

August 2 at 6:30pm ~ Guisachan Park Kelowna with Festivals Kelowna
August 3 at 6:30pm ~ Memorial Park, West Kelowna with Music in the Park
August 12 at 6:30pm ~ Heritage Park, Peachland with the Rotary Club of Peachland
A series of free, live opera concerts, presented in partnership with local organizations, feature the incredible emerging talents of the Summer Intensive Opera Training program.

For tickets and further information about Bizet’s Carmen, visit: operakelowna.com

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