Fresno Opera Theatre cast will perform “Carmen” with dialogue in English and singing in French.
Fresno State’s symphony orchestra will provide accompaniment.
The show is double-cast, so you can see two “fabulous Carmens.”
Wait a moment. The opera “Carmen” — with dialogue?
Yep. Georges Bizet originally wrote the famed opera for the Parisian company Opera Comique, so he used dialogue and singing as was expected in that theater at that time, says Anthony Radford, who heads the opera program at Fresno State. The production plays twice this weekend.
When it became clear in Paris that “Carmen” was a hit and destined for bigger opera houses, it had to make the transition to “grand opera,” in which all the dialogue had to be sung as recitative.
“I thought it would be an interesting project historically to do the dialogue version,” Radford says. The production will be performed with dialogue in English and singing in French (with English supertitles).
The university’s Fresno Opera Theatre cast will be joined by the Fresno State Symphony Orchestra conducted by Thomas Loewenheim. Theater professor Ruth Griffin is the production’s director and choreographer.
The show is double-cast, and Radford says he can boast two “fabulous Carmens”:
• Tiffanie Trujillo, who sings Friday, just turned 19 in December, which is young to be singing a full role like this, but she is “just amazing,” Radford says. She played the lead female role in last year’s opera “The Secret of Luca” at Fresno State.
• Alejandra Tejeda, who sings Sunday, is from Porterville and came to Fresno State as a Mariachi singer.
“She has a God-given talent,” Radford says. “She heard opera around the home because her father is an opera fan, but had never sung it until she came to Fresno State two years ago. An interesting thing about her was that she had a speech development delay and didn’t say a word until she was 6 years old. And now she is singing a full opera!”