Count Down to Carmen: New Boston Lyric Opera Production Just Under Two Weeks Away

Boston, MA -- Boston Lyric Opera (BLO) is counting down to the opening of its 2009-2010 Season with a fresh take on an audience favorite: Bizet's passionate Carmen, which opens November 6 at the Citi Performing Arts CenterSM Shubert Theatre in Boston. The artists, including mezzo-soprano Dana Beth Miller who makes her Boston debut as Carmen, arrived two weeks ago and have a lot to say about participating in a new creation. Scenery and props are being loaded into the Shubert this week.

BLO is excited to introduce mezzo-soprano Dana Beth Miller to Boston audiences in the title role. The New York Times heralded Ms. Miller's "rich, substantial voice, along with a winning stage presence." Opera Today applauded her "sizable and richly colored mezzo" and audiences across the country have embraced the control, finesse, power and emotion that she brings to each performance. Ms. Miller comments: "I am thrilled to have the chance to sing this iconic role with such a prestigious company! It is really a gift to be able to breathe life into such a complex woman and have the chance, as an actress, to make dramatic choices that could possibly tell her story in a new way."

BLO is also proud to have tenor John Bellemer (Don José) with the Company once again after his appearance in BLO's history making "Carmen on the Common" in 2002. When interviewed about the new production, Mr. Bellemer said, "I am excited to reprise the role of Don José in Boston after seven years. I am looking forward to singing the show in the intimate setting of the Shubert Theatre. Don José is a role I love to sing and portray because of how beautifully it is written for the voice and how well the story is told in a very small amount of time."

BLO's new production is directed by Nicholas Muni, designed by the Company's Artistic Advisor John Conklin, and conducted by Keith Lockhart, with Costume Designer Gabriel Berry and Lighting Designer Thomas C. Hase rounding out Carmen's creative team. Regarding the upcoming production, Mr. Muni notes, "One needs to look under each and every stone, each word, each phrase, every clue from the novella--and then fill in these stories with logical but out-of-the-box thinking. You must trick yourself into approaching it as if you know nothing about it and question every little thing." Mr. Lockhart agrees, adding, "It's very possible to do Carmen without thinking about it because you've heard it before. To look at it with fresh eyes - that's the entire responsibility, to approach the work as if you have never seen it before. Knowledge shouldn't blind you to new opportunities."

A souvenir from the recent run of Jersey Boys at the Shubert will influence dimension in BLO's production. The large black portal that completely covers the ornate white and gold columns that make up the familiar proscenium helps to break down the visual and psychological divide between the performers and the audience. The portal was generously donated to BLO by The Citi Performing Arts Center.

More insight from the artists, plus explorations into the culture and history that surround the original story are available at blo.org/2009-2010_carmen.html.

Bizet's Carmen: November 6, 8m, 11, 13, 15m, 17, 2009 at the Citi Performing Arts CenterSM Shubert Theatre. Sung in French with French dialogue and projected English translation. Carmen is co-sponsored by The Calderwood Charitable Foundation.