Studio to perform ‘Carmen’ opera

The TCU Opera Studio will be performing “La Tragedie de Carmen,” a classic tale of love, jealousy and revenge performed entirely in French this weekend at the Music Building South. Adapted from British director Peter Brook, the long production has been condensed into 90 minutes.

“It is concise yet dramatically powerful,” said Richard Estes, the director of the TCU Opera Studio.

Don Jose, a Spanish officer, falls for a gypsy girl, Carmen, who falls for a bullfighter, Escamillo. Don Jose’s downward spiral into an obsessive, jealous spell leads to murder and shame.

The original Carmen, composed by Georges Bizet, is filled with colorful dancing and large crowd scenes. TCU’s adaptation will focus on the violence and despair of Carmen’s world of obsession, depression, delusion and death.

“In this version, tragedy is emphasized,” Estes said.

Chelsea Coyne, a senior vocal performance major, will play the lead as Carmen in Friday’s and Sunday’s performances.

“She is provocative and a seductress,” Coyne said. “But I feel as if she carries an intense sense of darkness and death with her throughout the show.”

Coyne said the show has been incredibly challenging, not only from an acting standpoint but also vocally.

Joanna Fernandes, a vocal performance graduate student, will play the character Micaela in Saturday’s matinee production.

“Micaela is basically a religious, country girl who is in love with Don Jose,” Fernandes said. “Out of all the characters, she is the most naive and innocent.”

Fernandes, a 27-year-old from India, is looking forward to the weekend.

“It’s been a really wonderful experience,” Fernandes said. “Actually, being on stage is the most fun. There is lots of energy and excitement.”

Estes has been with TCU for 15 years, and this is his 21st production. Overall, TCU has presented about 60 operas.

Estes has received praise for his work in The New York Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Baltimore Sun, Washington Post, Opera News, Opera Magazine (UK) and Musical America.

“It’s a complete production, very to the point,” Estes said. “I would imagine this is a nice introduction to opera for students.