Pacific Opera Victoria’s Carmen thrills

Carmen, one of the world’s most popular operas runs at the Royal Theatre

Allyson McHardy as Carmen and Etienne Dupuis as Escamillo in Pacific Opera Victoria’s Carmen.

Pacific Opera Victoria is ready to take you to the steamy streets of Seville, where passion awaits and murder will be done.

Carmen, one of the world’s most popular operas runs tonight and Feb. 24 and 28 with a matinée Feb. 26, at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton St.

Bad, beguiling, and dangerous to know, Bizet’s heroine exudes life and draws all to her as moths to a flame. When she fixes on Don José as her next (but certainly not her last) lover, the naive but volatile young soldier hasn’t a chance. He is seduced into a life of crime. Tragedy is inevitable.

In Carmen the romance of the French language is coupled with sizzling Spanish dance rhythms and erotically charged music. When the opera premiered in 1875, the story was considered sordid and violent by the standards of the day, but the music was praised by Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, and Richard Strauss. An eminently tuneful opera, Carmen includes instantly recognizable melodies like the Habanera and the Toreador Song.

Following the tradition of opera comique, Carmen in its original form combined spoken dialogue with ensembles and arias. Although a grand opera version was created after Bizet’s death, it is the original version with spoken dialogue that Pacific Opera Victoria is presenting.

Tickets are available from the Royal and McPherson Box Office at 250-386-6121, or online at www.rmts.bc.ca.