Mary Tutwiler

A night at the opera

by Mary Tutwiler

Think you don’t know anything about opera? In a 2008 Superbowl commercial for Doritos , a man tries to trap a mouse to the tune of the Habanera from Bizet’s Carmen. Remember the Bad News Bears? Think back to the theme song, that’s the Toreador Song , again from Carmen. Beyonce performed in a 2001 urban revival of Carmen called Carmen: A Hip Hopera . Now Lafayette has the opportunity to see one of the most beloved operas of all time sung by a cast that includes professionals from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City and voice students at UL. The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra will be in the pit.

Carmen is the story of mama’s boy, corporal Don Jose, a greenhorn Spanish army officer, who loses his head over the gypsy Carmen. Seduced, he winds up deserting and joining the gypsy smugglers, whom he detests, to be with Carmen. But of course, as she had warned him in her first aria, she leaves him, to go off with the glamorous toreador, Escamillo. The opera comes to its violent conclusion to the roar of the crowd at the bullfights of Seville.

Director of the UL School of Music, Shawn Roy graduated from the university in 1980. He had a 20 year career as a professional singer before returning to his Alma mater, and his first item of business was to beef up the Voice-Performance degree and revive the school’s opera theatre. The program has been building over the past nine years; three years ago, ASO conductor Mariusz Smolij, approached Roy about a collaboration. That association resulted in the 2006 performance of The Magic Flute, last year’s Barber of Seville and now Carmen. The Marriage of Figero is slated for 2009.

Carmen will be performed Thursday, May 1 and Saturday, May 3, 7:30, at Angelle Hall on the UL campus. For tickets and more information call 232-4277, or click here .