‘Carmen’ to come to WVU
Published: Friday, February 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 1, 2013 07:02
The College of Creative Arts is putting on the biggest opera they have performed in years – the ever-famous "Carmen." Even if you skipped out on every show West Virginia University has offered, "Carmen" is the one you simply cannot miss.
This English version of "Carmen" will open Feb. 7- 8 at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee will be offered Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. in the Clay Theatre in the Creative Arts Center.
French composer Georges Bizet adapted this renowned opera from a short story about Don Jose, who becomes enchanted by a seductive Gypsy named Carmen.
"Carmen is the embodiment of this whole character of the piece; the Gypsy life. To be free and to do as you please is the most important thing, and to hell with everything else," said Jennifer Berkebile, who plays the role of Carmen.
Don Jose’s obsession becomes jealousy as he finds Carmen is only toying with him, just as she has done with many other men, but Don Jose will not allow her to leave him and this struggle of love turns to tragedy.
As memorable and passionate as the story is, the music and dancing is truly what makes this opera special, and whether or not you realize it, you do know its most popular songs. Plot elements and songs from the play are embedded into our culture and have been recreated into countless parodies, such as Bugs Bunny.
It is a rare occasion for the School of Music to be so heavily integrated into a WVU Theatre production. Members of the WVU Symphony Orchestra will play the score live from the pit.
"All the principal characters are voice majors from the opera department, and that’s because of how taxing the roles are, and we don’t have mics," Berkebile said.
Since last October, those with principal roles have been training for their singing and dancing, and they have been perfecting the English translation.
"At first the English was a little jarring, but we really got into it, and now I think it sounds really good. It makes a lot more sense than it did for me before, and the audience is going to understand a lot better, too," Berkebile said.
The dancers have recruited outside help from a professional flamenco dancer to teach the students.
This is the first opera WVU has arranged since "Le Nozze di Figaro" two years ago, and it has been even longer since an opera has been performed in the great Clay Theatre.
"It’s a pretty big deal," said Samantha Destefano, who plays the part of Frasquita. "The production is huge. The music is well known, it’s exciting, (and) there’s so much action and drama. All the chorus numbers are fantastic, and the solos are really amazing, too."
This production will not only feature students, but the several faculty members who auditioned to be a part of such a famous piece.
With all of the collaboration between schools, faculty, students and outside help, "Carmen’s" intense production is sure to leave an impression.
Tickets for "Carmen" are $15 for students and senior citizens, and $20 for adults. Tickets are available at the CAC Box office at 304-293-SHOW, or online via www.ticketmaster.com.