Carmen is considered one of the greatest operas of all time, and after worldwide exposure it is entering a new phase: comic books.
The Arizona Opera is partnering with writer/performer P. Craig Russell, artist Anneke, letterer Hassan Ottsman-Ellahou, and opera singer/director Alec Schrader to feature Georges Bizet’s Carmen Opera in a 90-page graphic novel beginning in 2022. to be adapted for. Russell would prepare the layout for Carmen: The Graphic Novel, finishing with Aneke, illustrating and coloring the pages.
“It is a thrill to share the work of this remarkable team of artists through the graphic novel format and timeless story of Carmen for the Arizona Opera,” says Joseph Spector, Arizona Opera President/General Director. “During the pandemic, our company has continually taken new approaches to connecting people through opera, when people need art and meaning most. Carmen: The Graphic Novel with a Focus on Innovation, Impact and Community represents a wonderful opportunity for us.”
Carmen is set in Spain in the early 1800s and centers on a soldier named Don Jose who falls in love with a prisoner – a Roma factory woman named Carmen. He allows her to escape from custody and eventually hooks up with the smugglers she is linked with. Her romantic intentions for Carmen are obvious, but not shared by her – which leads her down a road of jealousy that ends in a fight between Don Jose and a bullfighter Carmen who is in love by the name Escamillo.
The opera is written by Carmen Georges Bizet (based on the novel by Prosper Merimi) and features a libretto by Henri Meilhach and Ludovic Hélévy.
“There’s a reason why Carmen is one of the most performed operas,” Schrader says. “The themes that were fashionable in Bizet’s day still captivate audiences. There is a power struggle between the sexes, a focus on the question of liberty versus fate, and a stark contrast between the exotic Roma lifestyle and a repressed society And, of course, everything is geared to some of the most grand and melodious music in all opera.”
A comic published by an opera company? It’s unusual, but they have a plan. Carmen: The Graphic Novel came about through the Arizona Opera’s OnPitch Business Challenge in collaboration with Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and the WP Carey School of Business. Funding as a whole for the Onepitch program comes from a grant from Opera America, which in turn is supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.
,[Carmen is] The perfect opera for longtime opera lovers and newcomers,” Schrader continues. “And that’s ultimately why I wanted to adapt Carmen with the Arizona Opera. If you love Carmen but are new to comics, you may appreciate the storytelling on Page. And if you’re a fan of comics but new to opera, here’s a book that practically sings.”
A Kickstarter campaign for Carmen: The Graphic Novel will be launched in early 2022, and a pre-launch page It’s already live for people to sign up for the update. Carmen: The Graphic Novel’s Kickstarter campaign is timed to coincide with upcoming performances of the opera by the Arizona Opera in Phoenix (January 2022) and Tuscan (February 2022).
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