By Mark Vitale
Arizona Daily Wildcat
When the curtain rises on Arizona Opera Company's 1994-95 season, the spotlight will fall on one of the most beloved operas ever written, George Bizet's "Carmen."
The opera tells the tale of a beautiful but insolent gypsy girl named Carmen, the sensuous web she spins, and the many men who are drawn in by her charms.
Arizona Opera Company will present the opera in its original language of French, but it will not be necessary to bring along that pocket translator. English subtitles will be projected above the stage.
Opening night for "Carmen" is Thursday, Oct. 13th. On Oct. 13 and 16, the title role will be sung by mezzo-soprano Regina Elena Mesquita. Ms. Mesquita, who is most prominently known for her numerous performances in South America, will be marking her American/Arizona Opera debut with "Carmen." Performing the title role on Oct. 15 will be Brenda Boozer, who has performed in Paris and Florence as well as at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. "Carmen" will also be Ms. Boozer's debut in Arizona.
Arizona Opera Company does not just work with professionals. They enjoy working with professionals-to-be as well. This season the Arizona Children's Choir returns to perform in the chorus. The choir has appeared in numerous Arizona Opera Company productions including "Aida" and "La Boheme."
In the past few years, opera has gained a comfortable niche in Southern Arizona culture. According to Laura Schairer, Arizona Opera Company's marketing director, "people like a big show. Younger generations are used to a lot of stimulation to all the senses and opera hits them all Ä visual, emotional, etc."
And "Carmen" is the perfect opera to start a season with. According to Schairer, "'Carmen' is the most popular opera from all the repitoire Ä it will start the season off with a bang."
Continuing a tradition, a pre-opera lecture by Dr. Kenneth Ryan, an M.D. at the university's College of Medicine, will be given one hour prior to the performance in the third floor balcony of the Tucson Convention Center's Music Hall. The lecture will cover a variety of topics ranging from Bizet's score to details of the "Carmen" story.
Opening night for "Carmen" is Thursday, Oct.13 at 7:30 p.m. This will be followed by an encore performance Saturday, Oct. 15 and an afternoon matinee on Sunday, Oct.16. All performances will be in the Music Hall at the Tucson Convention Center. Student discount tickets will be available at the door one hour prior to curtain. For more information, call the Arizona Opera Company at 293-4336.
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