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Feel the heat of the legendary

CARMEN

Bizet
A sensuous Habanera
A fiery Flamenco dance
Spain’s hot-blooded Toreador!

click a performance below for tickets
Friday, February 13, 2015 at 8:00pm
Sunday, February 15, 2015 at 2:30pm
at The Magnificent Tennessee Theatre
Opera preview hosted by Maestro Salesky begins 45 minutes prior to each performance


Passionate music tells the story of a dazzling gypsy seductress and the Spanish soldier she bewitches into a life of crime. Drawn magnetically to this femme fatale and mistaking her flirtation for true love, he forsakes all. Carmen’s fickle heart and his obsessive jealousy ultimately seal her fate!

Starring Audrey Babcock, one of America’s leading Carmens, and Zulimar López-Hernández, who won the hearts of Knoxville audiences in
Romeo and Juliette.

Performed in French with projected English translations

Here’s something new……If you would like to attend one of our performances but don’t have anyone to go with you, join our Facebook group: Sempre Opera Society! S.O.S. is an opera-loving group that will meet for dinner and drinks prior to performances and sit together during the show. Join us on Facebook for more information.

Meet the Director!

Chuck-Hudson-124x150 CHUCK HUDSON (Stage Director)
Stage Director CHUCK HUDSON has directed opera productions at major companies including Cape Town Opera (South Africa), Florida Grand Opera, Minnesota Opera, Sacramento Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Opera Cleveland, Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera Center, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Wichita Grand Opera, Caramoor Opera, Berkshire Opera, Piedmont Opera, Connecticut Opera, and Shreveport Opera. He has also directed theatre productions for The Pearl Theatre, The Chester Theater, Cape May Stage, The Children’s Theatre Festival of Houston, New City Theatre, and Chicago’s Fox Valley Shakespeare Festival. Mr. Hudson, well-known for his work with young artists, co-created Seattle Opera’s Young Artist Program, and has directed productions for San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Santa Fe Opera’s Apprentice Artist Program, Florida Grand Opera’s Resident Artist Program, Indiana University, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Academy of Vocal Arts, Boston University, University of Southern California, Music Academy of the West, Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts, Carnegie-Mellon, and Manhattan School of Music. He has served on the faculties of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, University of Houston School of Theatre, Cornish College of the Arts, North Carolina School of the Arts, and Westminster Choir College, and for seven years was Artistic Director of Seattle’s Immediate Theatre. Mr. Hudson, was honored to perform as a mime with the legendary Marcel Marceau both on his 1991 European Tour and in Klaus Kinski’s film Paganini.

Meet the Cast!

Audrey-Babcock-124x150 AUDREY BABCOCK (Carmen)
Website: www.audreybabcock.com
Birthplace: Hollywood, California
Foreign Opera Company: Savonlinna Opera (Finland)
Foreign Orchestra and Festival: Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Costa, Rica Lyrique-en-mer Festival (France),
U.S. Opera Companies: Cincinnati Opera, Dallas Opera, Ft. Worth Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Pacific, Utah Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, San Diego Lyric Opera, Nashville Opera, Virginia Opera, Shreveport Opera, Florentine Opera, Opera Company of North Carolina, Opera Omaha, Toledo Opera, Tulsa Opera, San Antonio Opera, Syracuse Opera, Wichita Grand Opera, Opera Saratoga, Pensacola Opera, Opera Naples, Opera Idaho, Intermountain Opera (Montana), Opera on the James, Di Capo Opera, Opera Coeur D’Alene (Idaho), American Lyric Theater
U.S. Orchestras and Festivals: Spoleto Festival USA, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Eugene Symphony Orchestra, Norwalk Symphony Orchestra/CT, Sephardic Music Festival
CD Songs for Carmen (Aviva)

Brian-Cheney-124x150 BRIAN CHENEY (Don José)
Website: www.briancheneytenor.com
Birthplace: Rochester, Minnesota
Foreign Orchestra: Windsor Symphony (Canada)
U.S. Opera Companies: Asheville Lyric Opera, Salt Marsh Opera (RI), Opera Naples, Cape Cod Opera, Heartland Opera Theatre (MO), Pacific Opera (CA), Light Opera Oklahoma
U.S. Orchestras and Festivals: American Symphony Orchestra, New Mexico Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony (CA), Monmouth Symphony (NJ), Southern Illinois Symphony, Brevard Symphony, Norwalk Symphony (CT), Empire State Sinfonia, Strauss Symphony of America, Sanibel Music Festival (FL), Southern Illinois Music Festival

Ryan-Kuster-124x150 RYAN KUSTER (Escamillo)
Website: www.uzanartists.com
Birthplace: Jacksonville, Illinois
U.S. Opera Companies: San Francisco Opera, Dallas Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Colorado, Arizona Opera, Virginia Opera, Nashville Opera, Madison Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Opera New Jersey, Chicago Opera Theater, Chautauqua Opera,
Opera North
U.S. Orchestras: Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Bucks County Symphony, Ocean City Pops, Concert Operetta Theater of Philadelphia

Zulimar-Lopez-Hernandez-124x150 ZULIMAR LÓPEZ-HERNÁNDEZ (Micaëla)
Website: www.zulimarlopez.com
Birthplace: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Foreign Opera Companies: Royal Albert Hall Opera (London), Opera al Fresco (San Juan), Fundación de Zazuela y Operetta (San Juan)
Foreign Orchestra: Puerto Rico Symphony
U.S. Opera Companies: Glimmerglass Opera, Dayton Opera, Opera Memphis, Knoxville Opera, Nashville Opera, Syracuse Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Des Moines Opera, Annapolis Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Nickel City Opera (Buffalo), Union Avenue Opera (St. Louis)
U.S. Orchestras: National Chorale (NYC), Santa Cecilia Orchestra (NYC)

Peter-Johnson-124x150 PETER JOHNSON (Zuniga)
Website: www.peterjohnson.com
Birthplace: Saint James, Minnesota
U.S. Opera Companies: Knoxville Opera, Nashville Opera, University of Tennessee, Fargo-Moorhead Opera
U.S. Orchestras: Concordia College Orchestra (MN)
U.S. Festivals: Brevard Music Center (NC), Pine Mountain Music Festival (MI)

Briana-Hunter-124x150 BRIANA HUNTER (Mercédès)
Website: www.brianaelysehunter.com
Birthplace: Malvern, Pennsylvania
Foreign Orchestra: China Broadcasting and Film Symphony Orchestra
U.S. Opera Companies: Sarasota Opera, Opera in the Heights, Loft Opera, Music Academy of the West, Opera Slavica (NYC), NY Lyric Opera, American Opera Projects (NYC)

SYNOPSIS:

Act I

Plaza outside the tobacco factory in Seville, Spain, 1820.
Micaëla arrives inquiring if the soldiers have seen her sweetheart, Sergeant José. Sergeant Moralès tries to persuade her to wait for him, but she runs off. The relief soldiers, including José, arrive. A group of women, on a break from their work in the tobacco factory, emerge along with the popular gypsy Carmen. She focuses her attention on José. After the workers return to the factory Micaëla finds José and delivers a letter from his mother, who asks him to marry the girl. José promises to do so. A ruckus erupts from the tobacco factory. Zuniga commands José to jail Carmen for causing the mayhem. Alone with Carmen, José succumbs to her promise of a rendezvous in exchange for her freedom. After permitting her escape, José is demoted and sent to jail for a month.

Act II

Lillas Pastia’s Tavern on the outskirts of Seville.
Carmen and her friends Frasquita and Mercédès sing and dance for the crowd. The illustrious Escamillo arrives and boasts of his victories in the bullring. After the torero departs Zuniga tells Carmen he plans to return later for an assignation with her. After the crowd disperses, Dancaïre and Remendado try to enlist the aid of Carmen, Frasquita, and Mercédès for their next heist. The ladies agree, but Carmen, expecting José’s release from jail that night, remains behind. José arrives, and Carmen starts dancing for him. Distant trumpets call him to return to his regiment. Carmen mocks his obedience and encourages José to run away with her and lead a free gypsy life. The two are interrupted by Zuniga who returns seeking Carmen. In a jealous rage, José kills the lieutenant. José has no choice but to desert the army and join the gypsies.

Act III

The mountain hideout of the smugglers.
Carmen has grown tired of José’s possessive jealousy. Frasquita and Mercédès read the future in their Tarot cards. When Carmen reads hers, the cards foreshadow her death. After the gypsies disperse Micaëla arrives looking José and prays for God’s protection. A sudden gunshot causes her to take cover. Escamillo approaches looking for Carmen. He and José exchange words and a fight ensues. Carmen and the smugglers return in time to stop José from killing Escamillo, who invites them all to his bullfight in Seville. Micaëla is discovered and begs José to return home to his dying mother. Despite his violent obsession about Carmen, José leaves with Micaëla.

Act IV

Outside the bullring arena in Seville.
The crowd cheers on the arrival of Escamillo who appears with Carmen. Mercédès and Frasquita warn Carmen that they have seen José nearby. Carmen, unafraid, waits for him alone. José approaches and begs her to return to a life with him. She insists that their affair is over and that she now loves Escamillo. When José’s demands become more desperate, Carmen throws the ring he gave her in his face. As the crowd inside the bullring cheers Escamillo’s victory, José’s fury drives him to stab his beloved Carmen.