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Opera Abbreviated: Carmen

Listen to the latest Opera Abbreviated episode above! The Columbus Symphony Orchestra and Chorus collaborates with Opera Columbus for two performances of Bizet's Carmen in the Ohio Theatre, Friday and Saturday May 9 and 10 and 8 pm. Jean-Marie Zeitouni conducts.

This performance will be broadcast on the Columbus Symphony broadcast series May 18 at 1 pm. 

Carmen! What's not to love. She's comes down to us as a gypsy girl, hands on hip, rose in her teeth, a man killer, a harlot, the nightmare of every boy's Mama.

She's none of those things — well, she is a gypsy girl. Carmen is forthright and plain spoken. She will go where fate takes her: come along who may.

Carmen takes up with the hapless corporal Don Jose until she meets the glamorous matador Escamillo. Being first lady of the Plaza del Toros isn't bad, but it's more than the jealous Don Jose can stand.

Carmen was written for the Opera-Comique in Paris, where it had its first performance in 1875. The Comique was the light-opera family friendly theater.

The subject matter frightened the management annoyed the public. This opera that today everyone hums was a flop. Audiences changed their minds.

Even in a semi-staged production, Carmen with its in your face story and Bizet's glittering score, enchants.

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.