Florida Grand Opera
Florida Grand Opera
Florida Grand Opera

On February 24, 1951, The Opera Guild of Greater Miami (which in succession would be known as The Greater Miami Opera Association and today as Florida Grand Opera) celebrated its tenth anniversary by presenting the first opera performance in the newly completed Dade County Auditorium. The opera was Bizet’s Carmen, and on May 6, 2006, Florida Grand Opera will perform that same work in its final performance there before moving its Miami performances to the Ziff Ballet Opera House in the new Performing Arts Center.

From the famous Habanera to the stirring toreador’s song, Carmen contains some of opera’s best-known music. The seductive gypsy Carmen captures the heart of the young soldier Don Jose who sacrifices everything to be with her. When, on the run with her as a deserter, he sees that she is about to cast him aside for the handsome toreador Escamillo, it is more than he can bear.

In his passionate confrontation with her outside the bullring, his pleas for her to take him back are met with her determination to be done with him. The tragic murder that concludes the opera is as shocking today as it was to audiences in 1875.

Mezzo-soprano Rinat Shaham, who made her debut with Florida Grand Opera as Cherubino in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro in 2003, returns in the title role of Carmen. In July 2004, Ms. Shaham scored a triumph as Carmen for England’s prestigious Glyndebourne Festival. The London Times remarked, "The Israeli mezzo-soprano Rinat Shaham takes hold of the title role and never lets go; her tour de force performance is unmissable." Sharing the role of Carmen is mezzo-soprano Kathryn Friest, who has recently appeared in several productions at New York City Opera and Palm Beach Opera.

Paul Charles Clarke, who has appeared with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and William Joyner, who has appeared with Washington National Opera and New York City Opera, will be seen as Don Jose. Sandra Lopez, a graduate of the University of Miami who recently made her Metropolitan Opera debut, will alternate in the role of Micaela with Christina Pier, who appeared this season as Pamina in FGO’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

Baritone Franco Pomponi, who has recently been highly acclaimed at the Metropolitan Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago, makes his Florida Grand Opera debut as Escamillo. Sharing the role of Escamillo is bass Matthew Arnold, also making his Florida Grand Opera debut. Mr. Arnold recently performed the role of Escamillo with Minnesota Opera, and appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra as the bass soloist in Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins.

Due to Carmen’s popularity, two extra non-subscription performances have been added in both Miami and Fort Lauderdale

Georges Bizet’s CARMEN
(Sung in French with projected English translations)
Miami-Dade County Auditorium
April 22 at 7:00 p.m., April 25, 28, 29, May 5 & 6 at 8:00 p.m., April 23 at 2:00 p.m.
Broward Center for the Performing Arts – Fort Lauderdale
May 11, 12 & 13 at 8:00 p.m., May 14 at 2:00 p.m.

Carmen Rinat Shaham (April 22, 25, 29, May 6, 11 & 13)
Kathryn Friest (April 23, 28, May 5, 12 & 14)
Don Jose William Joyner (April 22, 25, 29, May 6, 12 & 14)
Paul Charles Clarke (April 23, 28, May 5, 11 & 13)
Micaela Sandra Lopez (April 22, 25, 29, May 6, 12 & 14)
Christina Pier (April 23, 28, May 5, 11 & 13)
Escamillo Franco Pomponi (April 22, 25, 29, May 6, 12 & 14)
Matthew Arnold (April 23, 28, May 5, 11 & 13)
Conductor Stewart Robertson
Andrew Bisantz (May 5 & 6)
Stage Director David Gately
Set Designer Allen Charles Klein - Florida Grand Opera
Photos Deborah Gray Mitchell

Single tickets start at $19. Call 1-800-741-1010 or order safely online at www.fgo.org.

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