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Playing a seductive gypsy girl, Claire Hoffman ’12, fears for her life in a scene from the opera, "Carmen."Playing a seductive gypsy girl, Claire Hoffman ’12, fears for her life in a scene from the opera, "Carmen."

Actors Ruth G. Heald ’12 and Joshua Lee ’08, MAT ’09 succumb to their passion for one another in a scene from "Carmen."Actors Ruth G. Heald ’12 and Joshua Lee ’08, MAT ’09 succumb to their passion for one another in a scene from "Carmen."

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Love and obsession collide in "Carmen"

A tragic love affair takes center stage at Willamette University through the production of Georges Bizet’s opera, “Carmen,” March 16–18.

Set under the sultry Spanish sun, “Carmen” is a dramatic story of a soldier’s ill-fated obsession for a dangerously beautiful and seductive gypsy girl. The audience will watch as Carmen drives this inexperienced soldier to mutiny and, ultimately, murder.

As one of the most popular operas of all time, “Carmen” is entertaining and accessible even to opera novices, says Director Allison Swensen-Mitchell. Without the exceptional talent of Willamette’s music department, she says she would not have tackled such an ambitious production.

“I am astonished by the high level of artistry and commitment of the cast,” Swensen-Mitchell says. “This has been a tremendous amount of work for everyone involved, but it has also been an exciting and rewarding process.”

Willamette University’s Dramatic Vocal Arts ensemble is presenting the four-act opera, which is being conducted by Meena Hwang. Students Ruth G. Heald ’12 and Claire Hoffman ’12 share the role of Carmen, and the cast is joined by alumnus Joshua Lee ’08, MAT ’09, guest artist Kelsey Popovich and the Willamette University Chamber Orchestra. The theatre department is contributing lighting, set design and stage-fighting expertise.

The Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7 p.m., and the Sunday matinee begins at 3 p.m. in Smith Auditorium. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $3 for students, and may be purchased at the music department or charged over the phone. Tickets will also be available at the door beginning 45 minutes prior to the show.

For ticket information, call 503-370-6255, and for more information on upcoming Music Department events, go to http://www.willamette.edu/cla/music/index.html.