Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, May 2008 – Get ready for passion, jealousy, murder and some really great tunes! One of the most popular operas of all time, Carmen, by Georges Bizet, is coming to Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley and South Shore this June, brought to life by a cast of professional singers, including some of Nova Scotia’s finest.

Carmen has bewitched audiences since its premiere with its colorful, passionate score pulsating with Gypsy rhythms, its shocking dénouement and its powerful title character, opera’s ultimate femme fatale. Corporal Don José deserts his fiancée and his regiment to run off with the bewitching Gypsy, Carmen. But the lady is as fickle as she is alluring and shifts her affections to the dashing toreador Escamillo. In the shadows outside Seville’s bull-ring, Carmen meets her fate in the form of Don José’s knife blade, while inside the crowd cheers Escamillo’s victory.

MCO’s tour will bring the opera to Yarmouth, Annapolis Royal, Shelburne and Lunenburg. “Our first tour was with last year’s production of La Traviata”, says producer Ruth Reedman “It was enormously successful and all the venues immediately asked us back for this year. We think it’s important that opera be available to Nova Scotians outside Halifax, and we’ve been warmly welcomed wherever we’ve gone”.

The cast is led by Lunenburg mezzo-soprano Nina Scott-Stoddart in the title role. Scott-Stoddart has performed across Canada and the United States with groups including Opera Maine, Tafelmusik, Opera Atelier, Opera Nova Scotia and Opera in Concert. Also appearing are Toronto tenor Lenard Whiting (Canadian Opera Company) as Don Jose, Toronto baritone Andrew Tees (Canadian Opera Company) as the toreador Escamillo, New Brunswick soprano Cara Adams (Vancouver Opera) as Jose’s fiancée Micaela and Digby bass Robert Milne (San Francisco Opera) as Captain Zuniga.

Among the young Maritimers making their debuts with MCO are Liverpool mezzo Sarah Townsend as Mercedes, New Brunswick soprano Sarah Barrett-Ives as Frasquita and Halifax baritone Joshua Whelan as Dancairo.

Accompanist Tara Scott (Acadia University) returns as music director, along with the acclaimed MCO Chorus under the direction of Rachel Grantham.

Performance dates are June 13, 2008 (King’s Theatre, Annapolis Royal), June 15, 2008 (Th’YARC, Yarmouth), June 19, 2008 (Osprey Centre for the Arts, Shelburne) and June 21, 2008 (Pearl Theatre, Lunenburg). All performances start at 8 pm.

About Maritime Concert Opera

The Maritime Concert Opera Society, a registered charitable organization based in Lunenburg, is Nova Scotia’s only concert opera company. (We perform opera in concert, without sets, staging or full costumes). Founded in 2003, MCOS presents two main productions each year, along with a number of fundraisers. One of those productions is the Lunenburg Summer Opera Festival, presented in June each year.

Our past productions have included complete performances of Dido and Aeneas, Cavalleria Rusticana, The Barber of Seville, La Bohème, Suor Angelica and La Traviata. Our work has received very positive reviews in both the Halifax Chronicle Herald and in Canada’s national opera magazine, Opera Canada.

Our productions are sung in the original language with projected English translations, and are usually accompanied by piano. Most principal roles are sung by professional singers from both the Maritimes and away. MCOS has a particular emphasis on educating young singers and hiring local artists.

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