I consider it a masterpiece in the fullest sense of the word: one of those rare compositions which seems to reflect most strongly in itself the musical tendencies of a whole generation.”

Marla Aronovitch, Company Manager

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Marla Aronovitch, Company Manager

Tadeusz Biernacki, Chorus Master and Assistant Music Director

Jessica Cranmer, Annual Giving Manager

Larry Desrochers, General Director and CEO

Livia Dymond, Development & Marketing Coordinator 

Sheldon Johnson, Director of Production

Heather Laser, Director of Development
Darlene Ronald, Director of Marketing
Sally Sweatman, Education & Outreach Coordinator

The 2009/10 Board of Trustees
Peter George, Chair

Remo De Sordi

Lawrence J. Elkow

Elba Haid

Dr. Rod Hanley

Peter Heavysege

Leona Herzog

Dr. Anthony Iacopino

Chris Mainella

Jennifer Snyder

Cindy Stevens

Ian Trump

Brent Twist

Robert Vineberg

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An opera, like a play, is a dramatic form of theatre that includes scenery, props, and costumes. In opera, however, the actors are trained singers who sing their lines instead of speaking them. An orchestra accompanies the singers. A conductor coordinates both the singers on stage and the musicians in the orchestra pit.
Opera consists of many dimensions: the human voice, orchestral music, the visual arts (scenery, costumes and special effects), drama (tragedy or comedy), and occasionally dance. The melding of these elements creates one incredible theatrical experience.
Opera has its roots in Greek drama and originated in Florence, Italy, in the late 1500’s, with a small group of men who were members of a Camerata (Italian for society). The intellectuals, poets and musicians of the Camerata decided they wanted words to be a featured aspect of music. They used ancient Greek drama as their inspiration, including the use of a chorus to comment on the action.
The Camerata laid down three principles for their new art form:

  • The text must be understood; the accompaniment must be very simple and should not distract from the words.

  • The words must be sung with correct and natural declamation, as if they were spoken, and must avoid the rhythms of songs.

  • The melody must interpret the feeling of the text.

The first significant composer to fully develop the ideas of the Camerata was Jacopo Peri (1561-1633), whose opera Dafne, based on a Greek myth, was performed in 1594 and is regarded as the first opera.

Operas are divided into scenes and acts that contain different types of vocal pieces for one or many singers. An aria is a vocal solo that usually focuses on a character’s emotions rather than actions. A recitative is sung dialogue or speech that occurs between arias and ensembles. It helps to further the action of the story and shape the relationships between the characters.
The story of the opera is written as a libretto, a text that is set to music. Composers write the score or the music for the opera. Sometimes the composer will also write the text of the opera, but most often they work with a librettist. In the past, the libretto was also bound and sold to the audience. Today, the audience can easily follow the plot with the use of surtitles - the English translation of the libretto, which are projected onto a screen above the stage.
There are several differences between opera and musicals like Phantom of the Opera. One significant difference is the ‘partnership’ found between the music and the drama in an opera. While musicals use songs to help tell a story, in an opera, the music contributes to the drama, it does not only accompany it.
The musical style is another important difference between the two art forms; opera is usually classical and complex, while musicals feature pop songs and sometimes rock and roll. Also, singers in musicals have microphones hidden in their costumes or wigs to amplify their voices. The voices of opera singers are so strong no amplification is needed, even in a large venue. Furthermore, operas are almost completely sung while the use of spoken words are more common to musicals. There are some operas with spoken words and these are called singspiels (German) and opera-comique (French). Examples are Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Bizet’s Carmen, respectively.


An Opera in Four Acts

April 17, 20, 23, 2010
(Dress Rehearsal / Student Night: April 15)

Centennial Concert Hall

Music by Georges Bizet

Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy

Based on the story by the Prosper Merimée
Premiere Performance: Opéra Comique, Paris, March 3, 1875

Sung in French (with French dialogue) with projected English translations


(In Order of Vocal Appearance)

MORALES, a soldier Benjamin Covey Baritone

MICAЁLA, a country girl Monica Huisman Soprano

DON JOSÉ, a corporal David Pomeroy Tenor

ZUNIGA, a lieutenant Alain Coulombe Bass

CARMEN, a gypsy Kirstin Chávez Mezzo

FRASQUITA, a gypsy Arianna Sovernigo Soprano

MERCEDES, a gypsy Catherine Daniel Mezzo

ESCAMILLO, a toreador Luis Ledesma Baritone

DANCAIRO, a smuggler Benjamin Covey Baritone

REMENDADO, smuggler Keith Klassen Tenor
Also Appearing

Lillas Pastia, an innkeeper Raymond Sokalski Spoken

A Guide Raymond Sokalski Spoken

Manitoba Opera Chorus

Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Tyrone Paterson

Director Rob Herriot

Sets and Props provided by Austin Lyric Opera (Austin, Texas)

Costumes provided by Malabar Ltd. (Toronto)

Assistant Director/Choreographer Brenda Gorlick

Fight Director Jacqueline Loewen

Lighting Designer Bill Williams

Stage Manager Paul Skirzyk

Assistant Stage Managers Chris Pearce & Candace Maxwell

Chorus Master Tadeusz Biernacki

Children’s Chorus Director Carolyn Boyes
For more information on the artists, go to www.manitobaopera.mb.ca and click on Carmen


Enhance Your Students’ Opera Experience

Manitoba Opera is pleased to unveil a new initiative to enhance your students’ opera-going experience and general appreciation for the art form.

Opera in a Trunk was developed as a teaching aid for use in a classroom setting to provide a more hands-on learning experience for students. This particular case is designed around the Manitoba Opera April 2010 production of Carmen.
The trunks include items such as wardrobe pieces, props, photos, books, CDs, DVDs, information related to the opera and other background information, as well as the study guide. The study guide is provided by Manitoba Opera free of charge as an educational aid to assist educators in maximizing their students’ preparation for attendance at the Student Night at the Opera dress rehearsal performance.
Five Carmen trunks are available to rent at any time of the year.

Bookings are processed on a first come, first served basis.*

*In March and April, schools who have purchased tickets to the Carmen Student Night will receive priority during trunk scheduling.


One-week rentals available.

Trunks are sent to your school by Manitoba Opera via courier Monday morning (you will receive the trunk by noon at the latest) and must be ready to be returned to Manitoba Opera by noon on Friday of the same week.
Manitoba Opera will arrange for the courier both ways.
Cost: $50 per week (includes couriers and GST), plus a refundable $50 security deposit. TOTAL: $100


Rental periods and method of transportation will vary depending on the location of your school.

Cost: $50 per week, plus a refundable $50 security deposit.* TOTAL: $100

*There will also be an additional transportation fee, which will vary from school to school, and will be determined in consultation with each school.


Sally Sweatman, Education & Outreach Coordinator

(204) 942-7470 ssweatman@manitobaopera.mb.ca

(9am – 4pm, Monday – Wednesday)




  • During the composer's lifetime: Railroads helped create the suburbs of Paris. Baron Haussmann redesigned Paris, leveling entire districts and creating the city’s modern face. A new opera house, the Palais Garnier, was built. War with Prussia, in 1871, brought down France’s Second Empire, and 20,000 Parisians died fighting their own government during the Paris Commune.

  • Name game: Bizet’s given name was Alexandre-César-Léopold. He just liked Georges better.

  • Dual nature: Bizet was sincere, guileless, and vivacious. However, he was also moody and indecisive, which caused a break in his marriage. A theatre composer has to take charge of his librettists and the staging of a work, and deal effectively with theatre directors. Bizet could do none of this, floating from project to project without a clear path. That’s a major reason for his theatrical failures.

  • Highest praise: Bizet’s ability as a pianist, particularly as a sight-reader, was so great that Liszt pronounced him his equal.

  • Parisian to the core: Aside from his three years in Italy after winning the Prix de Rome, Bizet rarely left Paris and its suburbs.

  • Recycler: Bizet always reused material from unproduced or unfinished works. That’s

a good thing, because Bizet left a lot of unfinished work: Only six of 30 opera projects

he started were ever completed.

  • Melody Man: Bizet had a huge melodic gift. Aside from Carmen, The Pearl Fishers has recently become quite common onstage. Bizet’s other operas are almost never produced. The L’Arlesienne suite is a staple of orchestral programs, along with the Symphony in C Major, written when he was 17. Many of his melodies (art-songs) are brilliant, and Jeux d’enfants is delightful.

  • Carmen the great: Bizet’s Carmen is a landmark in 19th-century opera for its grittiness, its defiantly sexual leading female character, and its non-heroic portrayal of a wide slice of society. It is consistently one of the five most performed operas in the world and contains some of the most famous opera melodies ever written, foremost the Habanera and the Toreador Song

Galli-Marié was the

original Carmen

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