In Trinidad and Tobago, Bizet’s Carmen Acquires Caribbean Flavor

The internationally renowned, Marionettes Chorale is preparing its 2011 grand production of George Bizet’s opera, Carmen, in Trinidad and Tobago. In March, they were still receiving applications for principal solo singing roles and orchestral musicians and decisions were made by early May.

This July at Queen’s Hall, the Marionettes will add a Caribbean twist to the epic French opera, which tells the tragic tale of the feisty gypsy woman who captures the heart of Don José. The Marionettes will bring Trinidad and Tobago’s national instrument, the steelpan, alongside traditional orchestral instruments played by some of the nation’s leading musicians. Premier contemporary modern dance company, the Noble Douglas Dance Company Inc. (NDDCI), will execute choreography for the production.

For the past 47 years, the Marionettes Chorale has established itself as one of the Caribbean’s premier choirs performing to audiences in North America, Europe and throughout the region. The longest standing choir in Trinidad and Tobago, the Marionettes was founded in 1964 (its Youth Chorale was formed in 1995). The chorale’s repertoire ranges from European renaissance pieces to Caribbean folk and calypso.

The Marionettes produce two major annual presentations under the conductorship of artistic and musical director Gretta Taylor and her assistant musical director, Susan Dore.

The title role of Carmen will be performed by Candice Alcantara and Lesley Lewis-Alleyne, while Marlon De Bique and Nigel Floyd assume the role of love-sick corporal Don José. Arnold Phillip and Marvin Smith double as the bull-fighting toreador Escamillo; the US-based Natalia Dopwell and Feryal Qudourah play the dutiful Micaëla.

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