Version of 'Carmen' pared down, but not lightweight

Critic's Choice

Classical Music

April 13, 2003|By Tim Smith

No, it's not opera for the attention-span-challenged. Peter Brook's roughly 70-minute adaptation of Bizet's Carmen, retitled La Tragedie de Carmen, is an inventive, respectful distillation of the full opera. Minor characters and some nonessential plot elements are removed to give the raw passion of the original story an extra, in-your-face dimension. Bizet's unforgettable music remains as potent as ever in this slimmed-down version.

For its final public presentation of the season, the Baltimore Opera Studio -- Baltimore Opera Company's career-development program for young artists -- will offer the Bizet / Brook Carmen today. The cast features mezzo-soprano Jamie Marie Gagliano as Carmen, tenor Marcus McConico as her love-struck soldier boy Don Jose, soprano Karen Coker as the woman he should be with, and David Won as the bullfighting Escamillo who catches Carmen's eye. James Harp will conduct. The director is Patricia Stone.

Performances are at 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. today at Beth Tfiloh Community School in the H. Morton Rosen Performing Arts Center, 3300 Old Court Rd. Admission is $10, available at the door.

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