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Carmen Gets A Modern Makeover At San Diego Opera

Shliey dētour series presents a daring ‘Tragedy of Carmen’

San Diego Opera's Shiley dētour Series Stages Bold New Carmen

GUESTS:

Alexander Gedeon, 'The Tragedy of Carmen' director

Beth Accomando, KPBS arts reporter

San Diego Opera's Shiley dētour Series strives to present innovative opera in intimate spaces. This weekend it delivers a contemporary re-imagining of "The Tragedy of Carmen" at the Balboa Theater.

Companion viewing

"Carmen Jones" (1954 with Dorothy Dandridge in title role)

"Carmen" (1983, Carlos Saura's flamenco ballet)

"Carmen" (1983 with Julia Migenes and Plácido Domingo
)

San Diego Opera's Shiley dētour Series strives to present innovative opera in intimate spaces. This weekend it delivers a contemporary reimagining of "The Tragedy of Carmen" at the Balboa Theater.

The character of the gypsy seductress Carmen was first introduced to audiences in a novella by Prosper Mérimée in 1845. That in turn inspired Bizet's opera of "Carmen" in 1875. British director Peter Brook then mounted a modernized version of the opera in a distilled, 90-minute theatrical piece called "The Tragedy of Carmen."

That's the Carmen that San Diego audiences will get to see this weekend and it has been modernized yet again by director Alexander Gedeon.

Gedeon referred to an adage in English theater that urges artists to "treat the classics like new plays and new plays like classics."

"We are not trying to replicate the 'Carmen' that you have already seen," Gedeon said.

Gedeon's particular take on the iconic character is to treat Carmen like a force of nature, as something that is unstoppable and destructive of everything in her path but also undeniably irresistible.

"The Tragedy of Carmen" has performances from March 10 through 12 at the Balboa Theater.

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