5 • carmen
Contents Keri Picket
The Minnesota Opera Sta∂ and Volunteers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Notes from the Leadership. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Board of Directors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Opera at the Ordway Initiative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Carmen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Background Notes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Synopsis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Georges Bizet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Artist Proﬁle: ???????. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Mérimée and His Novella . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 The Artists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 The Minnesota Opera Chorus and Orchestra. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Young Professionals Group Events. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Coming Up At The Minnesota Opera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 The Minnesota Opera Fund . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 The Minnesota Opera 2005 – 2006 Season. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Nixon In China Preview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
The Minnesota Opera President & CEO Artistic Director Chair, Board of Directors
Kevin Smith Dale Johnson John A. Blanchard, III
The Minnesota Opera, 620 North First Street Minneapolis, MN 55401 (612) 333-2700 www.mnopera.org The Minnesota Opera is a member of OPERA America. This activity is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature. This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
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the minnesota opera • 6
Minnesota Opera Staff President & CEO Kevin Smith Artistic Director Dale Johnson Welcome to today’s production of Carmen. For more than four decades The Minnesota Opera has enriched the cultural life of our community by producing outstanding and innovative operas that inspire and entertain. U.S. Bank is honored to sponsor the 2004 – 2005 season. We are proud of our 20+ year relationship with The Minnesota Opera and of our sponsorship at this great setting of the Ordway in St. Paul. At U.S. Bank, we support great dreams, great art and great arts organizations. They enrich the community with vibrancy, creativity, and excellence. As the sixth largest bank in America today, U.S. bank is the only major bank headquartered in Minnesota, and we’re deeply committed to giving back in this community. Thank you for coming and enjoy the performance.
Jose A. Peris, Senior Vice President, Region Manager, U.S. Bank Private Client Group, and Minnesota Opera board member
Artistic Artistic Administrator . .Roxanne Stou∂er Cruz Artistic Associate . . . . . . Floyd Anderson Community Education Director . . . . . . . . . Jamie Andrews Dramaturg . . . . . . . . . . . . . David Sander Production Stage Manager . . . Alex Farino Assistant Stage Managers . . .Kristen E. Burke, Katie Preissner Head of Music . . . . . . . . . . .Bruce Stasyna Resident Artist Assistant Conductor . . . .Christopher Zemliauskas Resident Artist Coach/ Accompanist . . . . . . . . . . .Korey Barrett Resident Artist Singers . .Raymond Ayers, Jonathan Carle, Theodore Chletsos, Anna Jablonski, Seth Keeton RAP Faculty . . .Allysum Tai Chi Center, Nancy Boler, Madeline Cieslak, Peter Robinson Teaching Artist . . . . . . . . .Angela Keeton KIDS . . . . . . . . .Lloyd Clausen, Paul Cochran, Mario Diaz-Moresco, Andrew Penning, Sara Sawyer Children’s Chorusmaster . . . . . . . .Janice Kimes Artistic Intern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Matt Bluem Costumes Costume Director . . . . . . . .Gail Bakkom Assistant Costume Director . . .Beth Sanders Drapers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Chris Bur, Yancey Thrift, Angela Yarbrough First Hands . . . . . . . . .Helen Ammann, Valerie Hill, Stephanie Vogel Stitchers . . . . . . . . . . . . .Rebecca Ballas, Jennifer Dawson, Christine Richardson Painter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Marliss Jensen Wig/Makeup Supervisor . .Charles Lapointe Wig/Makeup Assistants . . . Janet Dromgoole Emily Rosenmeier, Ashley Ryan
Scenery Production Administrator . . Holly Carpenter Technical Director . . . . . . . . . . . Mike McQuiston Asst. Technical Director/ Lighting Coordinator .Marc D. Johnson Properties Master . . Stanley Dean Hawthorne Properties Assistant . . . . . . . . Mike Long Production Carpenter . . . . . . . . J.C. Amel Scene Shop Foreman . . . . . . . . Rod Aird Master Carpenter . . . . . . . . . . .Steve Rovie Carpenter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Eric Veldey Administration Finance Director . . . . . . . . . . Je∂ Couture Operations/Systems Manager . . . . . . . . . . . Steve Mittelholtz HR/Accounting Manager . . Jennifer Thill Executive Assistant . . . . . Theresa Murray Receptionist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Jill Pawelak Development Development Director . . .Patrick Dewane Individual Gifts Director . . . . .Dawn Loven Institutional Gifts Director . . Linda Johnson Institutional Gifts Associate/ Gala Coordinator . . . . . . .Kelly Classen Individual Gifts Associate . . . . . .Megan Stevenson Development Director Assistant . .Kelly Clemens Marketing/Communications Marketing Director . . . . . . . . . . .Carl Lee Communications Director . . . Lani Willis Ticket O∑ce Manager . . . . Andrea Corich Marketing & Communications Assistant/ Volunteer Coordinator . . . . .Reid Tuenge Ticket Office Assistant . . . .Carol Corich
Minnesota Opera Volunteers The following volunteers contribute their time and talent in support of key activities of The Minnesota Opera. Harry Swepston (Volunteer Chair) Ann Albertson Gerald Benson Colleen Boyer Jim Brownback* Sue Brownback Jerry Cassidy Joann Cierniak Tricia Clarke Susan Cogger Caroline Coopersmith Lindsay Craig Beverly Dailey* Jeanette Daun Lee Drawert Judith Duncan Sally Economon
Hazel Francois Jane Fuller Joan Gacki* Christine A. Garner* Juhi Gupta-Gulati Mark Gustin Mary E. Hagen Lucinda Hallet Merle J. Hanson John Harris* Anne Hesselroth Alisandra Johnson Karen Johnson Nancy Johnson Steve Johnson Jeannie Johnston Robin Keck Eleanore Kolar Lucinda Lamont
Shirley Larson Jerry Lillquist Joyce Lillquist Abby Marier Margery Martin Joan Masuck Mary McDiarmid* Beth McGuire Verne Melberg Irma Monson Barbara Moore Doug Myhra Pam Nielsen Dan Panshin Pat Panshin Liliana Payne Megan Pelka Sydney Phillips Bill Phillips
Julia Porter John Rosse Florence Ruhland John Sauer Michael Silhavy Wendy Silhavy Angie Solomon Wendi Sott Dawn Stafki Dave Terwilliger Doris Unger Carolyn Wahtera Mary Weitz Barbara Willis* *Lead volunteer
Notes from the Leadership
Board of Directors
Welcome to the final run of The Minnesota Opera’s Carmen. This production launched the career of Denyce Graves, and, like its heroine, became a modern myth. Seen and celebrated throughout the world, the dramatic and sexy Keith Warner production returns for one final run on its home stage. This Carmen put The Minnesota Opera on the map. Few who saw it staged here first in 1991 will forget the power that Keith Warner brought to Bizet’s undeniable masterpiece, making it fresh, alive, contemporary and sexy. In these performances, director David Roth brings back that original staging. In its stark simplicity, this production uncovers the mysteries of Carmen and her complicated relationship with Don José. Warner was unafraid to be funny, provocative, violent and over the top. You will be among the first in the Twin Cities to hear the Minnesota Opera debuts of Israeli soprano, Rinat Shaham, and New Mexico native, Kirsten Chávez, who alternate as Carmen, as well as the debut of Jay Hunter Morris, who alternates the role of Don José with Scott Piper, who sang Duke in our recent Rigoletto. Roseville native and former Resident Artist Karin Wolverton sings Micaëla, and Matthew Arnold and Jonathan Carle alternate as Escamillo. Maestro John Keenan has returned after an absence of x years to conduct. Enjoy the performance!
Dale Johnson Artistic Director
Officers John A. Blanchard, III, Chair Rolf Engh Vice Chair Lynne E. Looney Secretary Thomas J. Foley Treasurer Kevin Smith, President & CEO
Directors Karen Bachman Susan S. Boren Nicky B. Carpenter Richard P. Carroll Jane M. Confer Susan J. Crockett Sara Donaldson Brad F. England John G. Forsythe Steve Fox Sharon Hawkins Directors Emeritus Karen Himle Burt Cohen Ruth S. Huss Julia W. Dayton Heinz F. Hutter Mary W. Vaughan Paula R. Johnson Lucy Rosenberry Legal Counsel Jones James A. Rubenstein, Michael F. Kelly, Jr. Moss & Barnett Elizabeth “Becky” Malkerson Honorary Directors Thomas R. Dominick Argento McBurney Philip Brunelle Brian E. Palmer Elizabeth Close Jose Peris Dolly Fiterman Steve Rothschild Charles C. Fullner Stephanie Simon Norton M. Hintz Catie Tobin Donald W. Judkins H. Bernt von Ohlen Liz Kochiras Jevne Pennock Patricia H. Sheppard
from the President Welcome and thank you for attending today’s performance of Carmen. In 1991 the legendary Carmen you are about to see marked a turning point for The Minnesota Opera. It set a new standard for artistic quality and established this company’s excellent reputation. Today, The Minnesota Opera regularly receives internationally accolades for our commitment to producing new and lesser known works, including forgotten bel canto treasures like Maria Padilla and this season’s upcoming Nixon in China (p. 32). Our ability to produce at the artistic level we do today is rooted in our successes as a producer of the standard repertoire, which was built in the 1990s. Our Carmen has traveled more miles than almost any American opera production. The sets and costumes you see today
have appeared on opera stages in Portland, Oregon; Houston, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; Seattle, Washington; Torino, Italy; Hamilton, Ontario; Baltimore; Calgary, Alberta; Tucson, Arizona and Fort Worth, Texas. Rentals of this production and many that followed in the 1990s, helped us build relationships with opera companies around the world. Those relationships resulted in fruitful and economical collaborations in the building and financing of new productions of popular operas, and earned this company its reputation as a leading coproducer. It is with great pride we present this daring staging one last time before its retirement. Enjoy the show.
Kevin Smith President & CEO
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from the Artistic Director
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t h e m i n n e s o t a o p e r a • 10
Conductor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .John Keenan† Stage Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .David Roth Choreographer . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Heidi Spesard-Noble Set and Costume Designer . . . . . .Marie-Jeanne Lecca Lighting Designer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Marcus Dilliard Wigs and Makeup . . . . . . . .Tom Watson & Associates Resident Artist Assistant Conductor . . . . .Christopher Zemliauskas‡ Assistant Director . . . . . . . . . . . .Doug Scholz-Carlson Chorusmaster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Bruce Stasyna Children’s Chorusmaster . . . . . . . . . . . . .Janice Kimes Production Stage Manager . . . . . . . .Alexander Farino French Language Coach . . . . . . . . . . .Peter Robinson English Captions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Floyd Anderson Original Production . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Keith Warner
Music by Georges Bizet Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy Based on the novella by Prosper Mérimée (1845) World premiere at the Opéra-Comique, Paris March 3, 1875 April 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24, 2005 Ordway Center for the Performing Arts Sung in French with English captions
The Cast Carmen, a gypsy girl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Rinat Shaham* Kirstin Chávez** Don José, a corporal in the dragoons . . . .Scott Piper* Jay Hunter Morris** Escamillo, a toreador . . . . . . . . . . . . .Matthew Arnold* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Jonathan Carle** Micaëla, a peasant girl . . . . . . . . . . .Karin Wolverton Mercédès, a friend of Carmen . . . . . . .Anna Jablonski Frasquita, a friend of Carmen . .Genevieve Christianson Zuniga, a captain of the dragoons . . . . . . .Seth Keeton El Dancaïre, a smuggler . . . . . . . . . . . .Raymond Ayers El Remendado, a smuggler . . . . . . .Theodore Chletsos Moralès, a corporal in the dragoons .Christopher Fast Lillas Pastia, an innkeeper . . . . . . . . . . . . .Bill Murray Andrès/Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Peter Robinson
Background Notes by David Sander
ne of the cruelest hands in the history of music was dealt to Georges Bizet,
who died without knowing his final opera’s everlasting appeal. The composer’s career had been tumultuous, without a clear theatrical success. The commission for Carmen in fact came on the heels of a newly failed work, Djamileh, which after its premiere on
Cigarette factory girls, dragoons, smugglers, dancers, townspeople
May 22, 1872, had only been able to scare up
Setting: Seville and its surroundings
a mere 10 performances before it dropped
* performs April 16, 19, 21, 23 ** performs April 17, 20, 22, 24 † conducts April 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 ‡ conducts April 24
Carmen is sponsored by American Express Minnesota Philanthropic Program Carmen by Georges Bizet. Critical edition by Fritz Oeser. By arrangement with Baerenreiter Music Corporation for Alkor-Edition, publisher and copyright owner. The appearances of Kirstin Chávez and Theodore Chletsos, national ﬁnalists, Anna Jablonski and Seth Keeton, regional ﬁnalists, and Matthew Arnold, district ﬁnalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, are made possible through a Minnesota Opera Endowment Fund established for Artist Enhancement by Barbara White Bemis. Performances of Carmen are being taped for delayed broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio, ksjn 99.5 in the Twin Cities.
into obscurity, not to be revived until the 20 th century. The Minnesota Opera season is sponsored by U.S. Bank, Private Client Group. The appearances of the 2004–2005 season conductors are underwritten by SpencerStuart. The 2004–2005 Camerata Circle Dinners are sponsored by Rider Bennett. Opera Insights is sponsored by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. Intermission reception sponsored by Lowry Hill Private Wealth Management. Rogers & Hollands is the O∑cial Jeweler of The Minnesota Opera.
These were the obstacles Bizet faced when his opera ﬁnally went into rehearsal in October 1874, after two postponements. And his frustration would only grow as cast, crew and orchestra revolted throughout the excessive ﬁve-month preparation. The chorus, who was accustomed to being quite stationary with their eyes ﬁxed on the conductor, reacted violently to the notion of moving through streets and hills, ﬁghting, and worst of all, smoking. The orchestra deemed the score unplayable, and managers Ponchard and Victor, the backbone of the Comique’s stage crew (and veteran fans of the Opéra-Comique’s glory days of La dame blanche and Ferdinand Herold’s Le Pré aux clercs) dug in their heels. Emile Perrin, former director of the Opéra and du Locle’s uncle, was called in to arbitrate, but to little avail. The saving grace was Bizet’s ﬁrst Carmen, Célestine Galli-Marié, who enlisted the help of her ﬁrst Don José, Paul L h é r i e . A c o n s u m m at e singer-actress, Galli-Marié was naturally drawn to the role, defending the opera’s merits, and even participating in the composition of the Habañera, itself drawn from a popular cabaret song “El Arreglito” by Sebastián Yradier. Bizet was lucky to have her in his corner. Unfortunately, it was not enough to save the new opera from its disastrous March 3 premiere. Though Acts i and ii were received with some encouragement as well as Esc a m i l l o ’ s To r e a d o r S o n g (described by the composer as “trash” suited to please his public), the audience was obviously baπed and chillingly silent as Bizet departed further and further from the Opéra-Comique’s trademarks. Though the composer had just been nominated to the prestigious Légion de l’Honneur that very morning (some close to the production sneered at the timing, claiming that after the evening’s performance it would no longer be possible to admit him), critics by and large were harsh, spiraling Bizet down into a deep depression exacerbated by the recurrence of throat abscesses, a chronic condition of his adult life. Recovering slightly in May, he went for a swim in the Seine, contracted a fever and died on June 3, exactly three months after Carmen’s premiere. It was at ﬁrst errantly reported the composer had committed suicide – though not intentional, through his own recklessness it appears Bizet had. Surprisingly, du Locle kept Carmen on the stage for several months, though audiences were sporadic and box o∑ce receipts failed to turn a proﬁt. The opera was pulled for the summer months and revived brieﬂy from November 1875 to February 1876, achieving a total of 48 performances, posthumously outstripping any of the composer’s previous works. Elsewhere, Carmen rapidly rose to fame. In the fall of 1875, the opera received its Viennese premiere, where it was reﬁtted with sung recitatives, and unencumbered by the conventions Continues on page 33
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It was Bizet who suggested Prosper Mérimée’s tragic tale to the co-directors of the Opéra-Comique when asked to produce another work. Contrary to its innocuous title, the OpéraComique was not solely committed to comedy. Like its imposing neighbor, the Académie Nationale de Musique (know informally as the Opéra), the Comique o∂ered serious drama as well, provided that all things worked out happily in the end. A chief distinction between the sister houses was the Opéra-Comique’s custom of interspersing spoken dialogue in between musical numbers rather than employing sung recitative. Another key di∂erence was the theater’s audience base – while the Opéra catered to the upper classes, the Comique was frequented by the upwardly mobile middle class, the bourgeoisie. They had expectations of high family values, for the theater was a place where young couples might meet or better yet, become a∑anced. Even though Bizet proclaimed his intention to revitalize the Opéra-Comique’s repertoire, it’s rather amazing he chose a subject as racy as Carmen. After all, its audience had been nursed on such triﬂing cream pu∂s as Boieldieu’s La dame blanche, a work intensely hated by Bizet. While this opera had served as the prototype for Auber’s bountiful lighthearted plots, which had held court at the Opéra-Comique for over 40 years, the latter’s death in 1871 signaled an opportunity for revolt, and Georges Bizet was ready to rise to the challenge. Of course, he still had to sell his idea to theater’s ﬂighty management. The diverse natures of directors Adolphe de Leuven and Camille du Locle represented an amusing duality of vaudevillian polar opposites. De Leuven was from the old school, once a close associate and collaborator of Alexandre Dumas père. Du Locle was a bit more progressive, also familiar in the annals of opera for his involvement in Verdi’s Don Carlos (1867) and Aida (1871). Du Locle and de Leuven constantly undermined one another, blaming successive box o∑ce failures on the other – not surprisingly the partnership did not last long, and it appears Bizet’s new opera brought on the pivotal crisis. De Leuven was against the project from the start, and though coaxed with a little toning down of the plot by co-librettist Ludovic Halévy, he chose to resign from the Opéra-Comique rather than scandalize his conservative public. Halévy and Henri Meilhac believed they could add a few lighter touches, chieﬂy with antics performed by the sidekick team of Remendado and Dancaïre, and dilute the tragedy of Carmen’s death by immersing it within a festive occasion. But the librettists were equally skittish. Though they had ventured into the realm of serious theater (in a work deceptively entitled Froufrou, where the respectable title character dies), they were mainly known for comedy, in particular for their libretti to Jacques O∂enbach’s satirical operettas. Their e∂orts to soften the otherwise lurid tale wouldn’t pay o∂.
t h e m i n n e s o t a o p e r a • 12
Synopsis act i
oralès and his soldiers pass the time watching the townspeople M cross the public square. Micaëla enters, looking for Don José, a new corporal in the regiment, and is told to return later. Don José arrives with Zuniga at the changing of the guard. The nearby cigarette factory breaks and all the men ogle the beautiful women who work inside, in particular the wild gypsy girl Carmen. While dancing the Habañera, she throws a ﬂower to Don José. Micaëla returns with a letter from Don José’s mother, and José tearfully remembers his former life. His mother advises him to return home, marry and settle down. Flustered, Micaëla rushes o∂. There is a ﬁght inside the factory – in the skirmish, Carmen has slashed the face of another girl. Don José is ordered to sort out the situation. When Carmen shows her indi∂erence to his authority, Zuniga decides to send her to prison and commands José to tie her hands. Quietly she persuades José to let her escape with the promise of an amorous rendezvous. act ii
At Lillas Pastia’s tavern, soldiers watch the gypsies dance. Near closing time, Zuniga ﬂirts with
Carmen, but is rebu∂ed. She learns José will be released from prison that evening – for letting Carmen get away he was forced to serve the term in her place. The famous bullﬁghter Escamillo enters amidst great excitem e n t. H e t o o i s e na m o r e d w i t h Carmen, but she decides to wait for José. Pastia manages to clear the room of customers, and Dancaïre and Remendado gather with the women to plan their next smuggling run. Carmen tries to beg out, disclosing her newly found affection for José. The soldier soon arrives, and Carmen dances for him alone. He professes his undying love – while imprisoned, he kept the ﬂower she had thrown to him. They are interrupted by the bugle call, summoning José back to the barracks. Carmen pressures him not to leave, and when Zuniga returns to pursue his advance, the two men ﬁght. Don José is left with no choice but to join the outlaws. – intermission –
In the mountains, the smugglers rest from climbing the harsh terrain. Don José has become disillusioned with life among the gypsies and argues
with Carmen. She suggests he return home, but José is still hopelessly in love. He is told to stand watch nearby. With friends Frasquita and Mercédès, Carmen reads her fortune in the cards and draws the Ace of Spades – the card of death. Nearby, Micaëla has come in search of José with news that his mother is dying. Escamillo also appears, looking for Carmen. He and Don José begin to struggle, but the ﬁght is broken o∂ by the others. To ﬁnally be rid of him, Carmen commands José to go with Micaëla, but he will not be forgotten so easily, vowing to return. act iv
Back in Seville, the townspeople bustle in anticipation of the upcoming bullﬁght. Escamillo again expresses his undying a∂ection for Carmen, who now loves him in return. She is warned Don José is among the crowd. As the bullﬁght begins, she remains behind to tell him their a∂air is over. He is incapable of letting go and stabs her to death.
Production Notes Keith Warner, original stage director erhaps no other story written since the classical period has captured the general imagination like Carmen. People who never attend opera know about her and talk of her. Why? Is Carmen an archetype of the modern woman—independent, dynamic, in full charge of her own sexuality? To be admired for her strength and non-acceptance of the male order? Or is she a male fantasy figure? A sultry, obscure object of desire—dangerous and exotic? A bohemian, a gypsy. Or an every woman, caught in the great machine of fate? A sacrificial victim, destined to die?
b Paris, October 25, 1838; d Bougival, June 3, 1875
Let us imagine we are inside Carmen’s mind: how does she see the world? Strong, primary colors: Spain, its earth, its sky. The bullfight. The blood. Her vision is divided by a wall, an obstacle that curves across the horizon: her sense of destiny, ever present, containing the action. Within this, her landscape, there are two types of people — those whom Carmen chooses to bring into her story by the wink of her eye, a turn of the cards or a flower thrown at random. And those, like
The Bridgeman Art Library
izet’s short career was primarily devoted to opera, reaching a remarkable climax in 1875 with Carmen. This now-famous opera followed a succession of complete and incomplete works that had no great success in Bizet’s lifetime. Only six operas survive in a performable text. Bizet’s childhood was steeped in music. His mother, Aimée, was the sister of François Delsarte, who would become famous for his development of singing and acting technique. It was at his home where Aimée met her future husband, Adolphe-Amand Bizet, also a music teacher. Young Georges entered the Paris Conservatoire in October 1848, just before his tenth birthday. He developed extraordinary gifts as a pianist and score-reader and won prizes for both piano and organ playing. Among his earliest works from the mid-1850s was Le Docteur Miracle, a comic opera in the Italian style, composed for a competition o∂ered by the Bou∂es-Parisiens theater, for which he shared ﬁrst prize. Soon after, Bizet won the prestigious Prix de Rome, and while in Italy, composed Don Procopio, the ﬁrst of a series of yearly submissions expected by the Académie. In compliance with a related subsidy, the Opéra-Comique was required to produce works by Prix de Rome winners. When Bizet returned from Italy in
Portrait of Georges Bizet by Eichhorn Albert (1811-1851) Private Collection; Roger-Viollet, Paris
1860, the theater commissioned him to write La guzla de l’émir, which was put into rehearsal but then withdrawn when the composer received a much more promising o∂er from the Théâtre Lyrique for Le pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers). No music for La guzla de l’émir survives, but documents from the Académie suggest that the famous duet in Act i of The Pearl Fishers was salvaged from it. The Pearl Fishers was composed in the summer of 1863 and given 18 performances that fall. Although admired by many, it was not well received by the press, and dropped out of the repertoire us, who are incidentals, bystanders who form a mere blackand-white backdrop to her story. The interaction of these two worlds—the chorus and the protagonists, living alongside each other, commenting on each other’s life and action—has an almostclassical magnitude. This sets the dynamic for her tragedy—raising Carmen above the sordid, seedy world of her actual existence, transferring her onto the world stage—a modern myth.
until after Bizet’s death. Léon Carvalho, director of the Théâtre Lyrique, rea∑rmed his faith in Bizet by commissioning from him a grand opera with a libretto Gounod had abandoned, Ivan IV. Carvalho’s repeated postponements, however, drove Bizet to o∂er the piece to the Opéra, where it was rejected. Several years of di∑culty followed, and the composer was forced to arrange transcriptions for publishers Choudens and Heugel in order to support himself. He had kept up his piano skills (which had at one time drawn attention from the virtuoso Franz Liszt) and served as rehearsal pianist for various occasions. By 1867, Bizet had become engaged to Geneviève (daughter of the famed composer Fromental Halévy), but her family postponed the marriage for two years because of his reduced circumstances. Bizet had signed another contract with Carvalho for La jolie ﬁlle de Perth (The Fair Maid of Perth), inspired by the current rage for operas based on Sir Walter Scott. The new work ﬁnally reached the stage in December 1867, where it played for 18 performances – again too few to ensure a Parisian revival in the composer’s lifetime. In the ensuing years, several projects proposed for the Opéra-Comique came to nothing. Of these, only Clarissa Harlowe and Grisélidis survive in draft. Djamileh, however, was produced in 1872. Though bowing to the recent trend for Oriental themes, Djamileh still failed to please its audience and was withdrawn after a short run. The Opéra-Comique next commissioned a full-length opera, set to text by the notable team of Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy (Geneviève’s cousin), which would become Carmen. Bizet still dreamed of producing a work at the Opéra and found time to compose Don Rodrigue (inspired by Guillém da Castro y Bellvís’s Las mocedades del Cid) after production of Carmen had been delayed. But the old Opéra burned down on October 28, 1873, and the composer would not be able to achieve this ambition during his brief existence.
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t h e m i n n e s o t a o p e r a • 14
Artist Profile: ???????? An interview by Lauren Rico
Broadcast Host Lauren Rico For the last 15 years, Lauren Rico has been able to combine her love of music with her passion for public radio. A longtime student of the French horn, Lauren holds a Master’s degree from George Mason University. She has worked at numerous radio stations in cities across the country including Tampa, Washington DC, New York City and Charlotte. Lauren has been on the sta∂ of Classical 24, Minnesota Public Radio’s national classical music service since 1999. In 2001, she received the Gracie Allen Award for Best National Radio Special from the Association of Women in Radio and Television for Instrumental Women: Orchestrating Change, a series on the role of women in American orchestras. She has served as host and producer of The Minnesota Opera broadcasts since 2001.
nown today as a mere footnote to Bizet’s tremendously popular opera, Prosper Mérimée (1803–1870) was not only a noted author, but also an archaeologist, historian and linguist. Born to a liberal-minded, artistic and bourgeois household, Mérimée learned English from his anglophile mother and became engrossed in the works of Byron, Shakespeare and Scott. He wrote his ﬁrst prose tragedy, Cromwell, at the age of 19, ﬁve years before Victor Hugo’s more famous and groundbreaking setting. Later, a series of romantic dramas written under the pen name of the ﬁctitious Spanish actress, Clara Gazul, brought him to the attention of the leading proponents of the Romantic Movement, earning him the distinctive anagram première prose, crafted out of his name by Hugo himself. By 1828, after receiving a pistol wound in a duel with a jealous husband, the author used the incident as inspiration for another tale, La vase étrusque. (Mérimée’s ardent heart would later lead him into a brief dalliance with notorious author and compulsive lover of writers and musicians, George Sand). Other works from this period include La Jacquerie, La famille de Carvajal and the historical novel Chronique du règne de Charles IX, a ﬁctionalized recreation of France at the time of the 16th-century Huguenot massacre. Another story, Mateo Falcone, dealt with the defense of family honor amidst high drama – as a result it would become the source of several future operatic treatments. In 1830, Mérimée embarked on a six-month journey to Spain. There he met the future Count de Montijo, his young daughter Eugenia and his wife Maria. It was Señora de Montijo who recounted the very topical Andalusian tale of a braggart fugitive who boasted of the murder of his lascivious gypsy girlfriend (she also encouraged him to write a history of medieval monarch Pedro “the cruel” of Castile). Upon his return to
France, Mérimée accepted a position with the progressive government of the newly empowered King Louis-Philippe and served as Inspector General of Historical Monuments. Though his writing slowed, his storytelling skills were the not lost on the king, who engaged the author to entertain visiting dignitaries, including Queen Victoria. During this period, he would complete his secondmost popular story, Colomba, featuring
another real-life woman of conviction, based on a story the author had heard in Corsica. With regard to many of his subjects, Mérimée has been described as “romantic” in the same vein as Hugo (and even participated in the playwright’s infamous “Battle of Hernani”), but his writing style had shed much of the ponderous description and minute detail that plagued Romantic literature of his era. In fact, with Carmen, he began to move toward the more avant-garde style of Realism, which reached its fruition in Henry Murger, Scènes de la vie de bohème (later Puccini’s La bohème), and Alexandre Dumas ﬁls, La dame aux camélias (later Verdi’s La traviata). Anticipating these two works, Mérimée would adopt a similar tone, telling his story in the ﬁrst person in parts one and two, and later switching to the second person for his then-ﬁnal chapter (a vaguely relevant fourth section about Romany language and culture, detached from the central narrative, was tacked on the end a little later). The ﬁrst two parts are centered
around a nameless French narrator, who stumbles across the bandit Don José, already on the outs with his girlfriend Carmen. They share a smoke, a meal and a night at the inn, but soon part ways. In the next section, the narrator happens upon Carmen herself (already vividly described by José), and she o∂ers to tell his fortune (among other things) back at her modest dwelling. Their encounter is hastily interrupted by a visibly angered José. In the process of the aborted seductive rendezvous, Carmen manages to steal the Frenchman’s gold watch. M o n t h s l at e r , t h e missing watch brings the narrator to the door of the city jail, which now houses a multimurderous Don José. He relays the subsequent events of his stormy relationship w i t h C a r m e n, a n d chapter three becomes the basis of Halévy and Meilhac’s libretto. Several events they chose to exclude, such as Carmen’s one-eyed husband García (killed by José for cheating at cards), Remendado’s wounding (and later o∑ng by García) during a smuggling run gone wrong and Carmen’s shacking up with an Englishman in Gibraltar as part of a future swindle. Micaëla was born out of a casual reference to José’s hometown girls with blue skirts and golden, plaited hair, and Escamillo was augmented from the slight mention of the picador Lucas, who is pursued by Carmen, but defeated in the ring, crushed beneath the weight of his horse and the subjugating bull (clearly his diminutive image as a faultering sidekick to the all-important matador had to be improved, although the term toreador is really a French bastardization of the Spanish word torero, a generic term for all the di∂erent players in the Corrida). The author also intimates at his future Pedro chronique, with a brief comparison of Carmen to Maria Padilla Mérimée continues on page 15
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Mérimée and His Novella
t h e m i n n e s o t a o p e r a • 16
The Artists Matthew Arnold Escamillo Minnesota Opera Debut Recently The Seven Deadly Sins, Philadelphia Orchestra Il viaggio a Reims, Chicago Opera Theater La sonnambula, Santa Fe Opera Lucia di Lammermoor; Faust; Figaro, Academy of Vocal Arts Faust, Augusta Opera Rigoletto; Roméo et Juliette; Carmen, Fort Worth Opera Upcoming La bohème, Michigan Opera Theatre Le nozze di Figaro, Opera Roanoke
Jonathan Carle Escamillo Minnesota Opera Resident Artist Recently Pagliacci; Il corsaro; The Magic Flute, Sarasota Opera Madame Butterfly, The Minnesota Opera Don Giovanni; La fanciulla del West, Glimmerglass Opera Beatrice di Tenda, Opera in Concert Così fan tutte; Carmen, Opera North (New Hampshire) Don Giovanni; Don Quixote; Falstaff; others, Opera McGill Upcoming Nixon in China, The Minnesota Opera La bohème, Sarasota Opera
Kirstin Chávez Carmen Minnesota Opera Debut Recently La Cenerentola, Kentucky Opera Il barbiere di Siviglia, Indianapolis Opera Carmen, China Philharmonic Orchestra Rigoletto; Luisa Fernanda, Orlando Opera Upcoming Così fan tutte, Utah Opera Carmen, Metropolitan Opera Il barbiere di Siviglia, San Diego Opera Le nozze di Figaro, Opera Company of Philadelphia
For more biographical information about these artists, visit our website at www.mnopera.org Raymond Ayers Dancaïre Minnesota Opera Resident Artist Recently Maria Padilla, Madame Butterfly, The Minnesota Opera Fiddler on the Roof; Faust; Susannah; Roméo et Juliette, Chautauqua Opera Mirandolina; Madame Butterfly; The Seagull, Manhattan School of Music Bach Cantata No. 80, Princeton Symphony Orchestra Apprentice Artist – Académie Internationale d’Eté de Nice Upcoming Nixon in China; Tosca; Don Giovanni, Minnesota Opera
Theodore Chletsos Remendado Minnesota Opera Resident Artist Recently Maria Padilla; Madame Butterfly, The Minnesota Opera Amahl and the Night Visitors, Minnesota Orchestra Les contes d’Hoffmann; Student Prince; others, Central City Op. Roméo et Juliette; La bohème, Indianapolis Opera L’elisir d’amore; Roméo et Juliette, Lyric Opera of Kansas City Ariadne auf Naxos; Le trouvère, Sarasota Opera Upcoming Nixon; Tosca; Don Giovanni; Elephant Man, Minn. Opera Vanessa, Central City Opera
Genevieve Christianson Frasquita Minnesota Opera Debut Little Women, 2002 Recently Messiah, Eugene Symphony (Oregon) Rigoletto, Compañia Lírica Nacional (San José, Costa Rica) The Impresario, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Acis and Galatea, New Breath Productions The Magic Flute; Passion; Rigoletto; The Handmaid’s Tale; La traviata; The Merry Widow; others, Minn. Opera Candide (ensemble; Cunegonde cover), Minnesota Orchestra
For more biographical information about these artists, visit our website at www.mnopera.org
Moralès Minnesota Opera Debut Otello, 1999 Recently Messiah, Gethsemane Chamber Orchestra; Mount Lake Choral Society Fauré Requiem, Schola Cantorum Elijah, Allegro Symphony Orchestra Studio Artist – Chautauqua Opera Semiramide; Macbeth; Rosenkavalier; Butterfly (roles); Faust; Le nozze di Figaro; Aïda (ensemble), Minnesota Opera Aleksis Kivi; Candide, Univ. of Minnesota Opera Theatre
Seth Keeton Zuniga Minnesota Opera Resident Artist Recently Maria Padilla; Madame Butterfly; The Magic Flute; Passion; Lucrezia Borgia; Rigoletto, The Minnesota Opera Amahl and the Night Visitors, Minnesota Orchestra La bohème; Roméo et Juliette; Don Giovanni, Chautauqua Op. La bohème; Dead Man Walking; La traviata, Austin Lyric Op. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Central City Opera Upcoming Death in Venice; Lucie de Lammermoor, Glimmerglass Op. Tosca; Don Giovanni; Orazi & Curiazi, Minnesota Opera
Bill Murray Lillas Pastia Minnesota Opera Debut Rigoletto, 2003 Recently The Magic Flute; The Flying Dutchman; Norma (ensemble), The Minnesota Opera Ariadne auf Naxos; Merry Wives of Windsor, Univ. of Minn. Le nozze di Figaro, La Musica Lyrica Gianni Schicchi; The Pirates of Penzance; The Bartered Bride, Ithaca College 2002 La Musica Lirica Festival (Urbania, Italy) 1998 Tanglewood Music Festival
Anna Jablonski Mercédès Minnesota Opera Resident Artist Recently Maria Padilla; Magic Flute; Passion; Rigoletto; Handmaid’s Tale; La traviata; Dutchman; The Merry Widow, Minn. Opera Chautauqua Opera Young Artist Program Le nozze di Figaro, The Astoria Music Festival Il barbiere di Siviglia, Portland SummerFest La Cenerentola, Portland State University Albert Herring; others, Bel Canto nw Upcoming Nixon in China, The Minnesota Opera
Jay Hunter Morris Don José Minnesota Opera Debut Recently Manon Lescaut, Seattle Opera Jenufa, The Dallas Opera The Flying Dutchman, Teatro Municipal (Santiago) Kát’a Kabanova, San Diego Opera Doktor Faust, San Francisco Opera Upcoming Doctor Atomic, San Francisco Opera Grendel, Los Angeles Opera Ariadne auf Naxos, The Dallas Opera
Scott Piper Don José Minnesota Opera Debut Rigoletto, 2003 Recently Tosca, Dayton Opera Rigoletto, Michigan Opera Theatre; Opera Roanoke Madame Butterfly, Vancouver Opera; Compañia Lírica Nac’l Carmen; Rigoletto, Compañia Lírica Nacional (Costa Rica) Upcoming Orazi & Curiazi, The Minnesota Opera La bohème, Seattle Opera Jenufa, Glimmerglass Opera
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17 • c a r m e n
For more biographical information about these artists, visit our website at www.mnopera.org
t h e m i n n e s o t a o p e r a • 18
The Artists Rinat Shaham Carmen Minnesota Opera Debut Recently Così fan tutte; Le nozze di Figaro; Pélleas et Mélisande, Berlin State Opera Jeremiah Symphony, San Francisco Symphony Dialogues des Carmélites, New York City Opera Carmen, Glyndebourne Festival Sheherazade, Philadelphia Orchestra Upcoming Il barbiere di Siviglia, New National Theatre (Tokyo) Le nozze di Figaro, Royal Opera House – Covent Garden
Marcus Dilliard Lighting Designer Minnesota Opera Debut Turandot, 1995 Recently Maria de Buenos Aires; The Miser, Theatre de la Jeune Lune Pericles; Pygmalion; A Christmas Carol, Guthrie Theater The Barber of Seville, Portland Opera Lucrezia Borgia; Rigoletto; others, The Minnesota Opera The Oedipus Plays, Herod Atticus Theater (Athens) Upcoming The Little Prince, Theatre de la Jeune Lune Amerika, American Repertory Theatre
John Keenan Conductor Minnesota Opera Debut La traviata, 1997 Recently Aïda, Kirov Opera Thaïs, Louisville Orchestra The Flying Dutchman, Vancouver Opera Don Giovanni, Metropolitan Opera Upcoming The Flying Dutchman, Kirov Opera concerts in Tokyo and Seoul Eugene Onegin, Louisville Orchestra
Spring Event Highlights in the West Bank Arts Quarter Through May 19
Master of Fine Arts Exhibitions. Reception April 29, 6-8:30 p.m. Nash Gallery. Free.
April 28 - May 1 times vary
Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Produced by University Opera Theatre. Ted Mann Concert Hall. Tickets: 612-624-2345.
April 29 - May 1 times vary
Student Dance Concert. Presented by University Dance Theater. Barbara Barker Center for Dance. Free?
April 30 7:30 p.m.
Renegade Ensemble. Music that is contemporary, daring, and provocative. Lloyd Ultan Recital Hall, Ferguson Hall. Free.
May 5 7:30 p.m.
Women’s and Men’s Choruses. Ted Mann Concert Hall. Free.
Karin Wolverton Micaëla Minnesota Opera Debut Lucia di Lammermoor, 2001 Recently Maria Padilla; The Magic Flute; Passion; Rigoletto; Handmaid’s Tale; Norma; Merry Widow; Don Carlos; others, Minn. Opera The Student Prince, Central City Salome, Des Moines Metro Opera Dvorak Te Deum; Amahl, Minnesota Orchestra Upcoming Les contes d’Hoffmann, Des Moines Metro Opera Don Giovanni, The Minnesota Opera
Alexander Farino Production Stage Manager Minnesota Opera Debut Rigoletto, 1995 Recently Candide, Minnesota Orchestra 1996 – 2005 seasons, The Minnesota Opera Acis and Galatea; Central Park; Tosca, Glimmerglass Opera A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts Madame Butterfly, Opera Pacific Upcoming Nixon in China, The Minnesota Opera
Janice Kimes Children’s Chorusmaster Minnesota Opera Debut Hansel and Gretel, 1981 Recently Pagliacci/Carmina burana; Street Scene; Turandot; Madame Butterfly; The Turn of the Screw; Tosca; The Magic Flute; Carmen; La bohème; Rigoletto; Bok Choy Variations; others, The Minnesota Opera Founder and Artistic Director – Bel Canto Voices Macbeth; others (ensemble), The Minnesota Opera
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For more biographical information about these artists, visit our website at www.mnopera.org
t h e m i n n e s o t a o p e r a • 20
The Artists Marie-Jeanne Lecca
Set and Costume Designer Minnesota Opera Debut Carmen, 1991 Recently Das Rheingold; Greek Passion; Wozzeck, Royal Opera House West Side Story, Volksoper Vienna Der Zwerg; The Seven Deadly Sins; Julietta, Opera North Jenufa, olbe abao Bilbao; Boccaccio, Volksoper Wien Guillaume Tell, L’Opéra National de Paris – Bastille Upcoming The Ring Cycle; Maskerade, Royal Opera House The Magic Flute; Death in Venice, Volksoper Vienna
Stage Director Minnesota Opera Debut Le nozze di Figaro, 1992 Recently Le nozze di Figaro; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Dialogues des Carmélites; Cavalleria rusticana; others, Opera in the Ozarks The Flying Dutchman; La bohème; Faust; The Turn of the Screw; Madame Butterfly; Tosca; others, Minn. Opera Amahl and the Night Visitors; others, University of Kansas Carmen, Baltimore Opera Das Rheingold; Die Walküre; Billy Budd; Der Rosenkavalier; others (ad), The Dallas Opera
Assistant Director Minnesota Opera Debut Der Rosenkavalier, 2000 Recently Hamlet; Romeo and Juliette, Theater 3 (New York) The Rape of Lucretia (RAP workshop); The Handmaid’s Tale; Passion; Don Carlos; others, The Minnesota Opera Lucia di Lammermoor, Pittsburgh Opera I Capuleti e i Montecchi, New York City Opera A Christmas Carol; Gross Indecency; Sweeney Todd, Guthrie Theater Hamlet; The Tempest; others, Utah Shakespeare Festival
Choreographer Minnesota Opera Debut The Merry Widow, 2002 Recently La traviata*, The Minnesota Opera Brigadoon*; The Christmas Show*; Big Bang*, Music Man; My Fair Lady; Can Can; Crazy For You; others, Chanhassen Theatre Runaways*, Macalaster College choreographer Evita*, Cretin Durham Nutcracker Fantasy; Rite of Spring; Beauty and the Beast; Swan Lake; Mythical Hunters; Allegro brillante, Minnesota Dance Theatre American in Paris; Cakewalk; Valse fantasie, State Ballet of Missouri *
Chorusmaster Minnesota Opera Debut Der Rosenkavalier, 2000 Recently Maria Padilla; Madame Butterfly; others, Minn. Opera Madame Butterfly; La Cenerentola, Des Moines Metro Opera Fidelio, Minnesota Orchestra Die ägyptische Helena, American Symphony Orchestra The Barber of Seville; Tito; Don Pasquale, Wolf Trap Opera Upcoming Nixon in China, The Minnesota Opera Sweeney Todd; Murder and Mayham’ The Latest Word, Wolf Trap
Singing in this production of Carmen.
Martin L. Swaden “Best Lawyers in America” “Super Lawyer” MN Journal of Law and Politics
Divorce and Matrimonial Law 952-832-5990 www.swaden.com 7301 Ohms Lane, Suite 550 Edina, MN 55439
Assistant Conductor Minnesota Opera Resident Artist Recently Tales of Hoffmann; Le jongleur de Notre Dame, Central City Op. Madame Butterfly; The Magic Flute; others, Minnesota Opera Coach/Accompanist – Dialogues des Carmélites; Die Fledermaus; Eric Hermanson’s Soul (Univ. of Minnesota); Eugene Onegin; Don Pasquale; Samson et Dalila (Indianapolis Opera); Don Pasquale; Albert Herring; L’enfant et les sortilèges (Music Acad. of the West); The Medium, Angelique; The Barber of Seville (San Fran. Merola) Upcoming Madame Butterfly; Vanessa, Central City Opera
Cathryn C. Schmidt “Rising Star” MN Journal of Law and Politics Best Lawyers Consumer Guide
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t h e m i n n e s o t a o p e r a • 22
The Minnesota Opera Chorus Lori Barrett-Pagano Judy Bender Amanda Broge Lisa Butcher Lloyd Clausen* Paul Cochran* Mario Diaz-Moresco* Molly Dimba Jennifer Eckes L. Peter Erickson Rachel Frazin April Hansen Robin Heggen Matthew Johnson Tor Johnson Brian Jorgensen Jennifer Josephson Patricia Kent Brian Kuhl Paula Lammers Peter Larson Shirley Leiphon Rebecca Lowe Eric Mellum Mary Monson
Don Moyer Bill Murray Laura Nichols Ken Noble Andrew Penning* James Plante Peter Robinson Dominick Rodriguez Christopher Russell Sara Sawyer* Cathryn Schmidt Robert Schmidt Sandra Schoenecker Lu Cheng Shih Russ Stephens Anne Storlie Martin Swaden Joel Swearingen Eric Vollen Corissa White Robert Woodin
Children’s Chorus Amanda Chen Isabella Dawis Maria Diez Bridget Keenan Michael Mayer Michael Olson Joey Pollari Richard Schrom Katya Rouzina Hannah Sicora Robert Verhoye Benjamin Westphal
Dancers Stephanie Fellner Anja Gallagher Stephanie Karr-Smith Julia Tehven
Supernumeraries David Allyn Christian Skelley
KIDS (Kids Internship for the Development of Singing) program
The Minnesota Opera Orchestra Violin I
Kristen Christensen concertmaster Julia Persitz David Mickens Allison Jones Judy Thon-Jones Andrea Een Kari Giles Miriam MoxnessGri∑ths Helen Foli Jill Olson
Jim Jacobson Adriana LaRosa Ransom Sally Dorer Dale Newton Joe England
Charles Kavalovski Charles Hodgson Patricia Lerohl Lawrence Barnhart
John G. Koopmann Christopher Volpe
Violin II Laurie Petruconis Elizabeth Decker Carolin Kiesel Johnson Margaret Humphrey Gillian Smith Almut EngelhardtKachien Paige Kearl Clara Zahler
Viola Annette Caruthers Vivi Erickson Laurel Browne Susan Janda Jim Bartsch Jackie Lo
John Michael Smith Constance Kay Martin Michael Watson
Flute Michele Antonello Frisch (double piccolo) Amy Morris (double piccolo)
Oboe Marilyn Ford Michael Dayton (double English horn)
Clarinet Sandra Powers Nina Olsen
Bassoon Coreen Nordling Laurie Hatcher Merz
Trombone Jon Tranter Sue Roberts David Stevens
Timpani Kory Andry
Percussion Matthew Barber Steve Kimball Robert Adney
Harp Min J. Kim
Personnel Manager Steve Lund
23 • c a r m e n
Cultivating a new generation of opera-goers in the Twin Cities photo by Barbara Willis
Are you a 20- or 30-something who’s curious about opera? Looking for something new and fun to look forward to? Join other young professionals for the hottest ticket in town — The Minnesota Opera’s Young Professionals Group! The low-cost YPG membership (only $30 per season) entitles members to great seats at the Opera for rock-bottom prices, as well as post-opera cocktail parties and special events throughout the season.
To join, visit www.mnopera.org or email us at email@example.com.
Upcoming Events Opera Nights Out: Carmen, April 23 Nixon in China, May 21 Great Waters is the ofﬁcial venue for Opera Nights Out
LUNDS BELLBOY LIQUOR Sponsor of the YPG Noche de Salsa
t h e m i n n e s o t a o p e r a • 24
The Minnesota Opera Calendar APRIL 5:00 p.m. Camerata Dinner 7:30 p.m. Carmen Opening Night 2:00 p.m. Carmen 7:30 p.m. Carmen 7:30 p.m. Carmen 7:30 p.m. Carmen 7:30 p.m. Carmen 9:00 a.m. Opera Academy Teacher Workshop 23 5:00 p.m. Camerata Dinner 23 7:30 p.m. Carmen 23 Carmen YPG Opera Night Out 24 2:00 p.m. Carmen 25 7:00 p.m. Conversation with Dale Johnson and Robert Marx 26 7:00 p.m. Nixon in China Forum with the Honorable Walter Mondale and Robert Marx For classes, call 612-342-9575 For YPG events, call 612-342-9550 16 16 17 19 20 21 22 23
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Mérimée Continued from page 15
come of the Franco-Prussian War with the likely fall of the Second Empire and his ruling patrons likely hastened his ﬁnal illness, and Mérimée died in 1870, missing the premiere of Bizet’s opera Carmen by just ﬁve years. Throughout the 20th century, Carmen has continued to be a potent subject for the exploration of modern psychology, having yielded at least 10 ﬁlm versions, several ballets and a theater piece, La tragégie de Carmen, by Peter Brook. Part of the story’s enduring allure is its femme fatale, a reverse Don Juan, whose pathological libido similarly leads to the ruin of others as well as herself. For her prey she chooses the only man that pays her no mind, Don José, whose bourgeois upbringing and behavior is still controlled by the destructive hold of his distant mother. Though in Mérimée we are introduced to him as a dangerous outlaw whose quick impulses have already led to murder, the opera initially represents José as a virtual innocent, ready for a drastic character reversal and
eventual downfall. In both cases he is ripe for emasculation, as evidenced by the persistent phallic imagery so often noted by commentators on the story (the priming pine, the lance, the blunderbuss – not to mention Carmen’s function at the cigar factory is to cut the ends o∂ cigars). Carmen refers to him more than once in the derogatory as “canary bird,” a reference to his yellow dragoon uniform and general lack of valor. She has no qualms about cheating on him, at once dancing and ﬂirting with his commanding o∑cer, maintaining an ongoing relationship with her half-estranged husband and seducing English merchants for ﬁnancial gain. Throw in the opera’s virginal young woman and a virile, undefeated conqueror, and a complex and dysfunctional love quadrangle ensues. Clearly the smartest of the bunch, Carmen aptly sums it up right from the start in her Habañera: amour is quite unpredictable – lacking when you want it and uncontrollable when it is there.
25 • c a r m e n
(very recently familiar to those who attended performances of Donizetti’s opera), in this legend she is a great gypsy queen who bewitched the Castilian monarch by magically creating the rift between King Pedro and his new wife Blanche de Bourbon. Following the publication of Carmen in the Revue des deux mondes, Mérimée completed his Histoire de Don Pèdre Ier, roi de Castile, as well as La dame de pique, a French translation of Alexander Pushkin’s Russian play. His fortunes were about to improve a second time as the new French emperor, Napoleon III married family friend Eugenia de Montijo in 1853. From then on he lived in the shadow of the court as a conﬁdant of the empress and among his reduced output included a proposed collaboration with the emperor on a history of Julius Caesar, a series of articles on Peter the Great, a novella dedicated to the empress, La chambre bleue, translations of works by Ivan Turgenev and the author’s ﬁnal manuscript, Lokis. The feared out-
t h e m i n n e s o t a o p e r a • 26
The Minnesota Opera Fund Individual Donors: The Bel Canto Circle The Bel Canto Circle is The Minnesota Opera’s highest category of personal support, indicating lead gifts of $10,000 or more. With this designation, we recognize these very special friends for their commitment to the tradition of opera in our community. Anonymous (2) Karen Bachman Rebecca Rand and E. Thomas Binger Mary and Gus Blanchard Rod and Susan Boren Mrs. Thomas B. Carpenter Darlene J. and Richard P. Carroll Rusty and Burt Cohen Ellie and Tom Crosby, Jr. Julia W. Dayton
Cy and Paula Decosse Fund of The Minneapolis Foundation The Denny Fund of The Minneapolis Foundation Brad and Diane England Dolly J. Fiterman John and Ruth Huss Heinz and Sisi Hutter Lucy Rosenberry Jones
The Art and Martha Kaemmer Fund of HRK Foundation Warren and Patricia Kelly Peter J. King Lynne Looney Patricia Lund Thomas and Barbara McBurney Harvey T. McLain Mrs. Walter Meyers Estate of Edith J. Mueller
Mrs. George T. Pennock Jose Peris and Diana Gulden Elizabeth and Andrew Redleaf Connie and Lew Remele Stephanie Simon and Craig Bentdahl Robert and Barbara Struyk Mary W. Vaughan Fund of The Minneapolis Foundation C. Angus and Margaret Wurtele
Dr. James E. and Gisela Corbett John and Arlene Dayton Mary Lee Dayton Thomas and Mary Lou Detwiler Kate Ellis and John Harrer Chip and Vicki Emery Rondi Erickson and Sandy Lewis Tom and Lori Foley Leslie and Alain Frecon Mr. and Mrs. R. James Gesell Mr. Denver Gilliand Meg and Wayne Gisslen Bill and Eleanor Goodall The Hackensack Fund of the Saint Paul Foundation Dorothy J. Horns, M.D., and James P. Richardson Jay and Cynthia Ihlenfeld Dale A. Johnson Jacqueline Nolte Jones Robert and Susan Josselson Stan and Jeanne Kagin Samuel L. Kaplan and Sylvia Chessen Kaplan Erwin and Miriam Kelen Mrs. James S. Kochiras
Sid and Diane L. Levin David MacMillan and Judy Krow Mary K. Mahley Family Foundation Roy and Dorothy Ann Mayeske James and Judith Mellinger Richard and Nancy Nicholson Nicholson Family Foundation William and Barbara Pearce Marge and Dwight Peterson James J. Phelps and Nancy McGlynn Phelps Mr. and Mrs. William Phillips Paul and Mary Reyelts Lois and John Rogers Ken and Nina Rothchild E. Elaine and Roger Sampson Kay Savik and Joe Tashjian Fred and Gloria Sewell Drs. Joseph and Kristina Sha∂er Frank and Lynda Sharbrough Mr. and Mrs. James Swartz Tanrydoon Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation William Voedisch and Laurie Carlson Bernt von Ohlen and Thomas Nichol Nancy and Ted Weyerhaeuser
E. Robert and Margaret V. Kinney Fund of The Minneapolis Foundation Kenneth Kixmoeller and Kim Otness Mr. and Mrs. William Kling Lisa C. Kochiras Maria Kochiras Robert L. Kriel and Linda E. Krach Helen L. Kuehn Anita Kunin Mark and Elaine Landergan Barry Lazarus and Mary Dearing Robert L. Lee and Mary E. Scha∂ner Carl Lee and Linda Talcott Lee Clinton and Judith Lee Susan Lenthe Stefanie Lenway and Tom Murtha Jerry and Joyce Lillquist Mr. and Mrs. B. John Lindahl, Jr. Benjamin Y. H. and Helen C. Liu Bill Long Dawn M. Loven Mr. and Mrs. Donald Lucker Margery Martin Samuel D. and Patricia McCullough Drs. Mary and Joseph Meland Mr. and Mrs. Edward L. Mills The Honorable and Mrs. Walter Mondale Sandy and Bob Morris Mrs. John H. Myers Susan Okie Allegra Parker Karen B. Paul
Jodi and Todd Peterson Mary Ingebrand Pohlad James and Connie Pries Robert and Mary Price Tim and Elin Raymond Frances and George Reid Kit Reynolds and Mike Schwimmer John and Sandra Roe Mrs. John C. Rowland Leland T. Lynch and Terry Saario Fund of The Minneapolis Foundation Patty and Barney Saunders Dr. and Mrs. Richard J. Schindler Stanislaw and Krystyna Skrowaczewski Je∂ and Helene Slocum Julie Jackley Steiner Don and Leslie Stiles James and Susan Sullivan Henry and Virginia Sweatt Michael Symeonides Mr. and Mrs. George H. Tesar Lois and Lance Thorkelson Mr. and Mrs. Philip Von Blon Ms. Wendy Wenger
Individual Donors: The Camerata Circle Gold $5,000-$9,999 Anonymous (1) Eric and Tracy Aanenson Jane M. and Ogden W. Confer Susan and Richard Crockett David and Vanessa Dayton Sara and Jock Donaldson Sally J. Economon Rolf and Nancy Engh Mr. and Mrs. John Forsythe Connie Fladeland and Steve Fox N. Bud and Beverly Grossman Foundation Alfred and Ingrid Lenz Harrison Sharon and Bill Hawkins Karen and John Himle Bryce and Paula Johnson Michael F. and Gretchen G. Kelly and the Kelly Family Foundation Constance and Daniel Kunin Ilo and Margaret Leppik Lynne Looney Ms. Becky Malkerson Ted and Roberta Mann Foundation Mary Bigelow McMillan
Diana and Joe Murphy Elizabeth Musser Trust— Fir Tree Fund Bruce and Sandy Nelson Albin and Susan Nelson Nelson Family Foundation Timothy and Gayle Ober Brian and Julia Palmer Mr. and Mrs. Steven Rothschild Kevin and Lynn Smith Virginia L. and Edward C. Stringer Gregory C. Swinehart Catie Tobin and Brian Naas Charles Allen Ward Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation Ellen and Fred Wells
Silver $2,500-$4,999 Anonymous (1) Chloe D. Ackman Martha and Bruce Atwater Dr. Ford and Amy Bell David Hanson and William Biermaier Alexandra O. Bjorklund Rachelle Dockman Chase Cleveland Foundation
Individual Donors: The Artist Circle Artist Circle $1,000-$2,499 Anonymous (5) Paula Anderson Kim A. Anderson Lowell Anderson and Kathy Welte Jamie Andrews and Jane Kolp-Andrews John Andrus, III Cheryl Appledorn and Thomas Schnettler Martha Goldberg Aronson and Daniel Aronson Mr. and Mrs. Edmund P. Babcock Dr. Thomas and Ann Bagnoli Patricia and Mark Bauer Sue A. Bennett John and Jennifer Bernstein Mr. and Mrs. Paul G. Boening Jan and Ellen Breyer Judith and Arnold Brier Conley Brooks Family Elwood F. and Florence A. Caldwell Bruce and Deanna Carlson Joan and George Carlson Joe and Judy Carlson Bruce Coppock and Lucia May Dr. Stephen and Beth Cragle Mrs. Thomas M. Crosby, Sr. Ruth and Bruce Dayton Amos and Sue Deinard Mona Bergman Dewane and Patrick Dewane
Mrs. Sia Dimitriou Mr. and Mrs. Carl B. Drake, Jr. Ekdahl Hutchinson Family Fund of The Minneapolis Foundation Susan Engel and Arthur Eisenberg Ester and John Fesler Henry and Anice Flesh Salvatore S. Franco Patricia R. Freeburg Bradley A. Fuller and Elizabeth Lincoln David and Kathy Galligan Christine and W. Michael Garner Lois and Larry Gibson Howard and Heidi Gilbert Paul and Margot Grangaard Mrs. Myrtle Grette Rosalie He∂elﬁnger Hall Fund of The Minneapolis Foundation Marthajane Hapke Don Helgeson John S. and Rosmarie Helling Nancy and Doug Heltne Cli∂ton K. Hill and Jody Rockwell Bill and Hella Mears Hueg Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Hull Mr. and Mrs. Philip Isaacson Mr. and Mrs. James L. Jelinek Charlotte and Markle Karlen Jessie L. Kelly Lyndel and Blaine King
These lists are current as of February 15, 2005, and include donors who gave gifts of $1,000 or more to The Minnesota Opera Fund since July 1, 2003. If your name is not listed appropriately, please accept our apologies, and call Megan Stevenson, Individual Gifts Associate at 612-342-9569. For information on making a contribution to The Minnesota Opera, please call Dawn Loven, Individual Gifts Director, at 612-342-9567.
The Minnesota Opera Fund Bel Canto $10,000+ 3M Allianz Life Insurance of North America American Express Minnesota Philanthropic Program Andersen Foundation Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation Anna M. Heilmaier Charitable Foundation The Bush Foundation Cargill Foundation Deloitte Deluxe Corporation Foundation Dorsey & Whitney Foundation Ecolab Foundation General Mills Foundation Lowry Hill Private Wealth Management The MAHADH Fund of HRK Foundation The McKnight Foundation The Medtronic Foundation OPERA America Pentair, Inc. Piper Ja∂ray Rider Bennett Rogers & Hollands Jewelers SpencerStuart St. Paul Travelers SUPERVALU Stores, Inc. Target Foundation Thrivent U.S. Bancorp Foundation U.S. Bank, Private Client Group Valspar Foundation Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota Wenger Foundation
Gold $5,000-$9,999 Alice M. O’Brien Foundation AT&T Foundation Bemis Company Foundation Briggs and Morgan Faegre & Benson German-American Heritage Foundation Jostens, Inc. Lindquist & Vennum Onan Corporation R. C. Lilly Foundation Rahr Foundation
RBC Dain Rauscher Foundation Twin Cities Opera Guild U. S. Trust Company Xcel Energy Foundation
Silver $2,500-$4,999 Arts & Custom Publishing Co., Inc. Beim Foundation Boss Foundation Buuck Family Foundation Dellwood Foundation Hutter Family Foundation Margaret Rivers Fund Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation Peregrine Capital Management Schwegman, Lundberg, Woessner & Kluth, PA Tennant Foundation Tozer Foundation West Group Alliance Capital Management Brock-White Co., LLC The Burdick-Craddick Family Foundation Charles B. Sweatt Foundation Curtis L. Carlson Family Foundation GREC, LLC Gunkelmans Interior Design Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc. Hogan & Hartson Horton, Inc. The C. A. Jackley Foundation Lawrence M. and Elizabeth Ann O’Shaughnessy Charitable Income Trust Le Jeune Investment, Inc. Leonard, Street & Deinard Maslon, Edelman, Borman & Brand Mayo Clinic McVay Foundation The Minnesota Mutual Foundation The Elizabeth C. Quinlan Foundation Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi The Southways Foundation St. Croix Foundation
U.S. Bank, Private Client Group
Madame Butterﬂy, U.S. Bank, Private Client Group Maria Padilla, National Endowment for the Arts Carmen, American Express Minnesota Philanthropic Program Nixon in China, AT&T Foundation
Opening Night Gala Sponsor U.S. Bank, Private Client Group
RAP Teaching Artists Wenger Foundation
$50,000 – $99,000
$25,000 – $49,000
$10,000 – $24,999 National Endowment for the Arts
Minnesota Opera Sponsors
Production Innovation System
Artist Circle $1,000-$2,499
Government City of Saint Paul’s Cultural STAR Program Minnesota State Arts Board
The Minnesota Opera gratefully acknowledges its major corporate supporters:
Evening Intermission Sponsor Lowry Hill Private Wealth Management
Promotional Support Minnesota Monthly
Official Jeweler of The Minnesota Opera Rogers & Hollands Jewelers
Opera Insights Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
27 • c a r m e n
Corporations and Foundations
“The diversity of repertoire in 2005–2006 creates a bold season by any standard,” said President and CEO Kevin Smith. “This is a very ambitious set of operas to produce, each bearing its own challenges and requiring a top-notch opera company for its success. We have never been more ready to take on a season like this. The Minnesota Opera is committed to staging repertoire from the Bel Canto and current eras, and that investment has earned us the reputation as a true industry leader.” “This company’s energetic, innovative exploration and production of varied repertoire is a huge draw for artists,” said Artistic Director Dale Johnson. “Whether to breathe new life into a major masterwork like Tosca and Don Giovanni, or the opportunity to contribute to an American premiere like Orazi & Curiazi and The Elephant Man, The Minnesota Opera is where singers and creative artists come to make compelling opera theater.”
Orazi & Curiazi
November 5–13, 2005 Heart-pounding drama, intense passion and soaring melodies combine in one of Puccini’s greatest operas. A sensation on the world stage and numerous recordings, Galina Gorchakova makes her Minnesota Opera debut in the title role, alternating with fastemerging American soprano Lisa Daltirus in this double-cast production. Bradley Garvin makes his company debut as Scarpia. Internationally acclaimed Peruvian maestro Miguel Harth-Bedoya makes his Minnesota Opera conducting debut, and Michael Cavanagh returns to direct this opulent Baltimore Opera production.
April 8–15, 2006 A Bel Canto love story in the tradition of Romeo and Juliet, Orazi & Curiazi (The Orazi and the Curiazi) unveils the tumult of tribal Rome, in which clan wars create tragic conﬂicts of loyalties. Mercadante, who Liszt called “Italy’s most important composer,” was a notable contemporary of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti, and the dramatic innovator who paved the road for Verdi. Eric Simonson directs the American premiere of this rare masterpiece. The company eagerly welcomes back two of its favorite artists: Bel Canto specialist Brenda Harris returns as Camilla, and Scott Piper will sing her ill-fated lover Curiazio, and Ashley Holland appears as Orazio.
Don Giovanni March 4–12, 2006 Considered by many the perfect opera, Mozart’s Don Giovanni returns to The Minnesota Opera stage for the ﬁrst time in 10 years in a new production by Patrick Mailler celebrating the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth. American bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen stars as the legendary Spanish scoundrel who jousts his way from one romantic conquest to the next. Patricia Risley and Lauren McNeese alternate as Donna Elvira, and Karin Wolverton returns as Donna Anna. Metropolitan Opera regular Patrick Carfizzi debuts as Leporello, alternating with Seth Keeton, and Theodore Chletsos appears as Ottavio. Chinese conductor Xian Zhang makes her company debut.
“We’re thrilled to present the American premiere of this long-neglected treasure,” Johnson said. “Mercadante may not be a household name to our audience yet, but this thrilling opera will be a treat to our thousands of Bel Canto fans.”
Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man May 13–21, 2006 The Minnesota Opera presents the American premiere of Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man in a new production by acclaimed choreographer and director Doug Varone. French composer Laurent Petitgirard tells the story of the beautiful soul trapped by a tragic disease in a cine-
matic score that is at once shimmering and tender. Originally composed for a contralto voice, the title role will be sung by celebrated countertenor David Walker. Christopher Schaldenbrand returns as D r . Tr e v e s . O n e o f M i n n e s o ta Opera’s most versatile and celebrated conductors, Antony Walker returns to the podium. Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man premiered in February, 2002, at the State Opera in Prague (with the French title, Joseph Merrick dit Elephant Man), and was proclaimed “a moving, modern work” by Amazon.com and “a compelling score” by London’s Sunday Telegraph. It was subsequently staged to further acclaim in Nice in November and December, 2002, and ﬁlmed by OSF Productions for French television. “This opera tells the story of the Elephant Man from his own perspective, rather than from the doctor’s as did the famous David Lynch movie starring John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins,” said Johnson. “I think this is highly appropriate, because ultimately, it is the story of a beautiful soul. It’s the characters on the outside that distort that reality, seeing only his disease. To highlight this perspective, Doug Varone’s approach will rely on movement rather than disﬁguring makeup to portray this spirit.” Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man is sponsored by American Express Minnesota Philanthropic Program.
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The Minnesota Opera’s 2005–2006 season features two beloved m a s t e r p i e c e s , To s c a a n d D o n G i o v a n n i , a n d t w o A m e r i c a n p r e m i e r e s , Saverio Mercadante’s Bel Canto thriller, Orazi & Curiazi, and Laurent Petitgirard’s Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man.
GARDEN OF EDEN K
t h e m i n n e s o t a o p e r a • 32
Coming Up: JOHN ADAMS’S GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING
“A work with few parallels in the history of music.” —The New York Times
May 17-22 FIVE PERFORMANCES ONLY!
OPERA AS COMMENTARY ON HISTORY he Minnesota Opera, in partnership with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Houston Grand Opera and Portland Opera Tis proud to present one of the finest operas of the 20th century, Nixon in China. This first major U.S. production since the 1987 original dramatizes the historic meeting and clash of cultures that was, itself, a highly choreographed coupling of two worlds. “A work with few parallels in the history of music,” said The New York Times of its premiere. “A spellbinding experience in contemporary operatic theater,” proclaimed the New York Daily News. “Miss it at your peril.” Echoing the 19th-century political operas of Verdi and Donizetti, Nixon in China places celebrated personalities in an epic situation and then reveals them in a way that highlights their humanity. Adams’s electrifying score provides striking characterizations of Richard Nixon, Chairman Mao, Madame Mao and Henry Kissinger, along with a touching portrait of First Lady Pat Nixon.
Nixon in China in the Opera House and the Senate: Revisiting an Epic Conversation The Honorable Walter F. Mondale and Robert Marx explore the landmark 1972 meeting of President Richard Nixon and Chairman Mao Zedong from the perspectives of Senate history and the opera it inspired. Nixon in China brought contemporary history vividly into the opera house. Art and policy intersect again as The Minnesota Opera and the Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs proudly present this examination of one of the late 20th century’s most significant political events.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005, 7:00pm Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
Nixon in China is sung in English with captions projected above the stage.
This event is free but registration is required. Please call 612-342-9554. Register early, seating is limited.
Visit www.mnopera.org for more information.
This event will be taped for delayed broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio’s Midday.
FOR TICKETS CALL 651-224-4222
Backgroound Notes continued from page 11
Good listening Amy Sperling 651.282-9615
Crocus Hill Office
Though she failed to attend either the premiere of Carmen or her husband’s funeral, Geneviève achieved personal security from the opera’s royalties, remarried in 1886 to a rich banker and emerged from her mental disease to become a bonne vivante, known for her lavish parties. Both spouses have been accused of marital inﬁdelity, and it has been suggested that Bizet and his leading lady had enjoyed more than a solid friendship brought on by the trying rehearsals. Feeling uncommonly close to the composer, Galli-Marié claimed to have predicted Bizet’s demise during the 33rd performance – she felt a chill in the fortune-telling scene when she drew the Ace of Spades. By the time the curtain fell, Bizet had lost consciousness and died early the next morning. Upon learning of her friend’s death, Galli-Marié too fell into a fever and was indisposed for the June 3 showing. As a result, du Locle pulled the production for that evening, and with harsh irony, replaced it with a revival of La dame blanche.
Nancy Meeden 651.282-9650
33 • c a r m e n
and expectations of the Opéra-Comique, was an enormous success. Three years later in London and New York the opera was also greeted with enthusiasm, albeit in Italian translation. The work soon gained the respect of fellow composers Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Wagner. Yet in France, while popular in the provinces, Carmen could not make a Parisian comeback for another eight years. By then, du Locle had resigned as director of the Opéra-Comique due to ﬁnancial di∑culties and was replaced by Léon Carvalho, former director of the Théâtre Lyrique. Though he had, during his tenure, commissioned two earlier works by Bizet, he did not care for Carmen, nor did he enjoy Galli-Marié’s sensuously realistic delivery. With many of the same concerns as de Leuven before him, he had steadfastly refused to remount the opera. In time, Carvalho was overwhelmed by public pressure, in particular from barrage of letters sent by Galli-Marié, and in 1883 the impresario ﬁnally relented. He hastily produced a sanitized version, re-
setting the Act ii brothel scene inside a hotel lobby, replacing the dancing gypsies with ballerinas and altering much of the dialogue. This production failed to please, but incited further entreaties to bring back the original, to which Carvalho acquiesced later that year. Critics reacted as though they had completely forgotten the two earlier productions, and lavished praise upon the opera as if it had been a brand new work. The urtext of Carmen remains in dispute. A critical edition of the work was created by Fritz Oser in 1964, based on orchestra parts that survived a disastrous ﬁre in 1887 (for which Carvalho was brieﬂy imprisoned), but when compared to the original Choudens piano-vocal edition, it appears Bizet made many changes during the rehearsal period, and it is unclear what his ﬁnal intent may have been. His dep r e s s e d a n d u n s ta b l e w i d ow, Geneviève, gave away many of his original manuscripts, and it seems his letters and journals from that period have been heavily edited in an attempt to hide details of their troubled marriage.