Opera Theatre Performs "Carmen"

UALR’s Opera Theatre presents La Tragédie de Carmen, Peter Brook’s adaptation of the famous opera Carmen, for two performances– 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 17 and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 19 – at the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall in the UALR Fine Arts Building.

“Our version preserves all the gypsy melodies and passionate love songs that have made Carmen a timeless favorite of audiences around the world,” said director Edward Crafts, associate professor of music. The original Carmen by George Bizet premiered in 1875 in Paris.

Crafts said he was pleased to be able to present to central Arkansas audiences a mainstay of the operatic repertoire.

“University opera programs seldom are able to perform the major 19th-century operas because the vocal and production requirements are too demanding,” he said. “However, we are very fortunate to have a cast of vocally mature singers who can do justice to this exciting music.”

The production features Satia Spencer of De Witt as the gypsy Carmen; Matthew Tatus of Jacksonville as the volatile renegade José; Shaina Erwin of Little Rock as Jose’s former sweetheart Micaela; Beau Humble of Little Rock and Lewis Heard III of Little Rock alternating as Escamillo, a toreador and José’s rival; Jansen Goodwin of Little Rock as Captain Zuniga; Phillip Murray of Benton Harbor, Mich., as Lillas Pastia; Jeremy Kinchen of Pine Bluff as Garcia, and Steven Armstrong of Little Rock as a gypsy.

Music Director Dr. Bevan Keating will conduct the orchestra for these performances.

“This arrangement of Carmen is scored for a chamber orchestra which makes it perfect for the intimate performing space of the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall,” Crafts said. Currently, UALR is the only opera program in Arkansas to offer two productions with orchestra each year.

The opera will be performed in French, with subtitles and dialogue in English.

General admission is $15; UALR students may reserve free tickets. For reservations, please call the Music Department Box Office at (501) 569-8993.

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