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Carmen @ Lyric Theatre, QPAC

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by Julian Wagner (subscribe)
Julian Wagner - Brisbane writer and musician c/- Wagner Musicians and Promotions Pty Ltd (ABN 50161875261) which provides string quartets and other classical musicians for weddings and other special events and promotes and reviews concerts
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Photographer: Branco Gaica.

Are you game enough to embrace a night of fantastique Français singing, fabuloso Spanish dancing, flamenco guitar playing and boundless Ooh la la passion? What about a Spanish gypsy love tryst with a dashingly debonair table dancing Toreador or a handsomely uniformed soldier - all played out in scenes exquisitely evocative of Spain's sultry Seville?

Well, I DARE YOU to experience Opera Queensland's Carmen (sung in French with English translations) which awaits you until Saturday 10 November 2012 at QPAC's Lyric Theatre, South Bank.

Experience'? Well, first and foremost (though far from last) there's the sensational French speaking American mezzo –soprano Kirstin Chávez as the joie de vivre femme fatale Carmen who will race your heart through all possible paces of passion and pathos faster than a Melbourne Cup gallop as you are equally acoustically rewarded with composer George Bizet's eternally famous music such as the raunchy risqué Habanera and the faster and faster Chanson boheme which sees Chávez vocally and rhythmically excel in her world famous signature role. Other instantly recognisable 'tunes' (so to speak) include the Toreadors Song perhaps better known to AFL football fans as the club song for the Geelong Cats! Yet Carmen's on stage drama and extraordinary gymnastic akin choreography makes any on field football game 'ho hum' when it comes to all round entertainment.

Without giving too much away, Opera Queensland's extravaganza sees seductress extraordinaire Carmen cleverly render her captor (soldier Don José - Ukrainian tenor Konstantin Andreiev) a prisoner of her unrequited love as she wreaks L'Amour Hurricane Sandy akin havoc to almost all and sundry who dare love her! Yet can the feisty freedom loving wild cat be tamed by the dashingly handsome toreador Escamillo (Argentine born tenor José Carbó)? Or will this bull fighting hero also be away with the flowers akin to Ferdinand the Bull in the initial phase of that much loved fable? Can the innocent beauty Micaëla (the exquisitely sonorous soprano Lecia Robertson) save her sweetheart Don José from Carmen's spell or is he destined to cross the fine line between love and hate and bring a tragic end to nearly everyone's joie de vivre?

In having reviewed many an opera over the years, this Carmen experience is rest assured 'the opera' 'to die for' - even for those who have never experienced a night at the opera (perhaps apart seeing the Marx Brother's 'A Night at the Opera' (1935) or in more recent years, operatic tid-bits in ABC TV's hugely popular Operatunity OZ ). Even the very character of the multifaceted Esprit de corps Carmen will intrigue all (for better or worse) as this femme fatale renders Sharon Stone's character in Basic Instinct and Basic Instinct II and the bunny boiler in Fatal Attraction largely passé in terms of craftiness and would clearly give Christian Grey of Fifty Shades of Grey a run for his money (all the more reason for those with a copy of E.L. James' novella to promptly put it aside and have a more fulfilling night at the opera!).

Given Brisbane's summery Seville akin weather now pretty much upon us, why not have a fantástico Español akin week end (or week!) before or after seeing Carmen with Spanish food at one of the great restaurants referred to in Weekend Notes recent 'Eat Spanish, Dance Spanish - For Cultured Foodies' ( Julie White). Then there's the Brisbane Good Food & Wine Show (9-11 November 2012) at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre - a mere castanets throw from QPAC's Lyric Theatre.

Remaining performance times for Carmen are:

Tuesday 6 November 2012 7:30 pm
Thursday 8 November 2012 6:30 pm
Saturday 10 November 2012 1.30 pm

To book for Carmen go to or for other great Opera Queensland events in 2013 visit
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Why? An Ooh la la night of Spanish & French passion!
When: From 26 Oct to 10 Nov 2012
Where: Lyric Theatre, QPAC, South Bank, Brisbane
Cost: From $38.25
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