The Korea Herald


Three shades of ‘Carmen’

By Korea Herald

Published : Nov. 17, 2013 - 19:02

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“Carmen” by the Korea National Opera. (KNO) “Carmen” by the Korea National Opera. (KNO)
It is no wonder that a tale of fiery yet innocent romance between a young, naive soldier and a sultry gypsy touches the hearts of many Koreans. “Carmen,” the tragic love story of exotic dancer Carmen and Don Jose by Prosper Merimee, was named the most-loved opera in a National Opera survey in 2012.

From November through December, the story and music will be reinterpreted on three very different stages in opera and musical forms.

KNO ― Original French style

The Korea National Opera will feature “Carmen” at the National Theater of Korea’s Haeoreum Hall from Nov. 21-Nov. 23. The KNO has reinvited Paul-Emile Fourny, a noted French director who has received the Legion d’Honneur for his interpretation of operas including “Carmen.” He directed last year’s early-sellout performance by the opera company.

Fourny will be joined by 2012 alumni including costume designer Louis Desire, lighting director Patrick Meeus and mezzo soprano Kate Aldrich taking over the title role.

“Bizet’s music ranges from Spanish to French and a bit of a Cuban touch. Also, ‘Carmen’ is all about mixing passion with tragedy, and with Fourny’s delicate but bold interpretation, it will be able to capture that balance,” a KNO spokeswoman said.

Goyang gets serious

The Goyang Cultural Foundation will feature Bizet’s “Carmen” with an all-Korean cast and crew from Nov. 27 through Dec. 1 at the Goyang Aram Nuri.

Accomplished director Yang Jung-ung will lead a group of equally noted singers including mezzo soprano Kim Jung-mi as Carmen and tenor Na Seung-seo as Don Jose.

Yang, who is famous for adding a twist to classical pieces including his ambitious reinterpretation of “King Lear” for “King Rear” last year, will be focusing on the characters’ inner-selves. “‘Carmen’ is the clash of the human instincts to seek freedom, represented by Carmen, and lust, portrayed by Don Jose. I think people will be able to ask themselves, ‘What is freedom and can humans achieve true freedom?’ while they are watching it,” Yang said.

Star musical cast

Musical “Carmen” by acclaimed composer Frank Wildhorn will be performed at LG Arts Center from Dec. 6 through Feb. 23 next year with a star cast including Bada, Cha Ji-yeon, Ryu Jung-han and Shin Sung-rok. Circus performers, acrobatic shows, magic acts and more will bring “artistic catharsis” to the audience, the organizer said.

Acclaimed magician Lee Eun-gyeol will participate as magic director with professional mime artists, jugglers and others bringing an extra entertainment factor to the show.

By Bae Ji-sook (