Fearless & Feminist: Saskatoon Opera’s Modern Take on Carmen
After 2 years of smaller concerts, Saskatoon Opera is spreading its wings on the main stage at the Remai Arts Centre with a daring take on Bizet’s Carmen (June 11 – 18, 2022). The seductive opera tells the story of a feisty, independent woman determined to make her own decisions but cannot control the actions of others.
“What excites me is we’re flipping the script, setting it in the early 2000s, and looking at it through the lens of the modern woman.”
“I’ve seen many productions of Carmen over the years and traditionally it’s viewing her story through the male gaze, what it means to be a ‘good woman’,” says director Anna Theodosakis. “What excites me is we’re flipping the script, setting it in the early 2000s, and looking at it through the lens of the modern woman. Viewing Carmen as a strong, independent woman who isn’t just there to serve the male gaze.”
The themes of empowerment run beyond the score. Saskatoon Opera has assembled a talented, all-female production team including Theodosakis, conductor Maria Fuller, set designer Evgenia Mikhaylova and costume designer Miranda Hughes-McKnight.
Canadian mezzo soprano Simona Genga jumped at the chance to take on the title role.
“Finally getting a chance to work on the material, explore what it means to me and bring my own stamp to it is exciting. I’m joining a legacy that has become so grand”
“Carmen is one of those iconic women,” Genga says. “It’s a role I’ve seen a few times and finally getting a chance to work on the material, explore what it means to me and bring my own stamp to it is exciting. I’m joining a legacy that has become so grand”
From Toreador Song to Habenera the score is full of iconic hits that are loved by opera fans and recognizable to even the most casual listener. The performance will be sung in French with English subtitles so everyone can follow along.
“I’m really excited to show the audience what we’ve accomplished,” says Theodosakis. “In telling the story through a modern, feminist point of view we are celebrating the strength of women and shedding light on themes of domestic violence and how even the strongest of women have to fight in this world.”
The cast is complimented by vocalists with Saskatchewan roots; Danika Lorén, Oli Guselle, Chris Kelly, Jardena Gertler-Jaffe and members of the Saskatoon Children’s Choir will be supported by the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra in an unforgettable show.
“I’ve always loved this opera, even from a young age and this performance will not disappoint” says Theodosakis. “It’s an important story to tell and I’m certain the audience will leave the theatre humming the music.”