You can never save a stripper, so they say, but replace stripper with gypsy and you will get to the heart of Carmen. Written by George Bizet, the opera Carmen is one of the most popular French operas. Several renditions of this story have found itself in popular culture, most notably the 1954 movie which starred Harry Belafonte.

The Atlanta Opera Company has taken the stage at the Cobb Energy Performance Arts Centre and transformed it into a town square in Seville, Spain in the first act.  This production has a very large cast that fills the opening scene with a festive atmosphere. All ages are singing, dancing and celebrating. In the children’s chorus was Carstan Dowdy alongside his star-on-the-rise sister Emma Dowdy, who is a veteran stage performer.

With no need for 3D glasses, you are transported throughout the performance to a fun tavern, a mountain hideaway and the beautiful majesty of Seville, Spain.

The story is simply boy meets girl, boy hooks up with girl, then girl dumps boy. Seems so simple, but add a few hot emotions like love, jealousy, and temptation, you will roller coaster of a tale.

María José Montiel beautifully captures the role as Carmen; this is her Atlanta Opera Debut.  Her sensual but enigmatic energy is able to balance the coquettish nature and independence of the strong woman and channel it into a believable Carmen. I was simply mesmerized.

For operas, you have a strong divide between those who love then, those who don’t enjoy them, and a large contingency that really doesn’t know much about them. However, this opera is the perfect for the novice or chichi attendee. It is fun, witty, and ridiculously naughty at the end.  It was first performed in Paris, Opéra-Comique on March 3, 1875. The Atlanta Opera has had previous performances in 1992 and 2004.

It is also important to support our hometown company the Atlanta Opera, because we are fortunate to have it and other opera companies in Atlanta.

With a bumpy last year for the Atlanta Opera, this year they played it safe with a classic–this one is sure winner. Don’t miss out in experiencing one of the most beautiful art forms–the opera–with the opening for the sixth season at the Cobb Energy Performance Center in Carmen.

No need to worry about the opera being sung in French–there are simultaneous translations and the beautifully designed programs by Encore Atlanta has a good synopsis, cast bios, and great info about George Bizet’s Carmen which runs November 10th, 13th, 16th, and 18th.

For details and ticket for George Bizet’s Carmen visit: or call 404-881-8885

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