The Canadian Opera Company’s: “Carmen” by Georges Bizet at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (October 14, 16, 20, 22, 26, 28, 30, and November 4, 2022)

Chilly nights in Toronto require a trip to the opera. The Canadian Opera Company presents “Carmen” by Georges Bizet at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts this Fall between October 14, 16, 20, 22, 26, 28, 30, and November 4, 2022). The diva can give Beyoncé a run for her money is here for a limited time. “Carmen” is truly an opera for women.

Carmen is a seductive, freedom-loving woman, desired by many. She takes Don José, a young soldier, as her latest lover, who defects from the army to join her in her smuggling life. But when she spurns him for the dashing toreador Escamillo, Don José cannot accept her rejection…to fatal consequences.

The Canadian Opera Company’s has pulled out all the stops by securing two-time Grammy Award winner J’Nai Bridges. Ms. Bridges will hypnotize you in the title role of Carmen. Her voice saturates the stage. Bridges performance of “L’amour est un oiseau rebelle” will make you swoon. Additionally, Carmen’s gorgeous long locks, red lip, crushed velvet dress, sashes and ties offer the most delicious of seductions to her lovers. Ms. Bridges, Carmen, will make you want to pay her a visit more than once this season.

1167 – A scene from the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Carmen, 2022. Conductor Jacques Lacombe, director Joel Ivany, lighting designer Jason Hand, original set designer Michael Yeargan, original costume designer François St. Aubin, fight director and intimacy coordinator Siobhan Richardson. Photo: Michael Cooper

Argentine tenor Marcelo Puente plays Carmen’s hot-tempered love interest and villain, Don José. Mr. Puente performance will make you want you to shake your fist at times. The desperate love Don José holds for Carmen heaves from the stage into the audience as the story takes a dark turn.

Lebanese-Canadian soprano Joyce El-Khoury plays Micaëla. Ms. El-Khoury’s performance is exquisite. The character of Micaëla truly shines the light into the dark interiors of the staging. American Grammy Award-winning baritone Lucas Meachem plays the role of Escamillo, and closes the love triangle between Carmen and Don José. Mr. Meachem’s provides a bravado that will keep you warm in your seat.

When inhaling the heat coming off the stage at “Carmen”, ensure to dwell on the opera’s finest performance offerings such as the “Habanera”, “The Flower Song”, and the “Toreador Song”. You maybe familiar with these songs. They may even prompt you to download them upon your return home for further reflection.

Finally, when not being mesmerized by the passion fuelled performances, make time to wink at the sun-drenched production. The lighting is curated by from Toronto-based Jason Hand, combined with original set and costume designs from Michael Yeargan and François St-Aubin, whisks audiences away to bustling street scenes and danger-laced outlaw hideaways. I guarantee you will feel like you have been in Havana for 3 hours.

Ensure sure you pay a visit with a Carmen before winter’s chill gets you. Her warmth will keep you toasty until we meet at the opera again in spring 2023!

Carmen is sung in French and presented by the COC with English SURTITLES.

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