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BWW Interview: Zoie Reams of CARMEN at Minnesota Opera

Carmen will be at the Minnesota Opera May 7th through the 22nd.

BWW Interview: Zoie Reams of CARMEN at Minnesota Opera Sultry, bold, daring. When affection turns to obsession, romance becomes dangerous. Carmen, an iconic and beautiful woman, is bound to live life on her own terms. But shortly after a corporal military officer falls for her, what begins as a passionate story of desire quickly turns into a struggle for liberation. Featuring some of the most popular music to ever grace the opera stage, Minnesota Opera's Carmen brings every aspect of Bizet's thrilling tale to life, from its tantalizing beginning to its devastating climax.

We chat with Zoie Reams who plays Carmen about her role and the production.

How does it feel to be performing in front of audiences again?

Performing for audiences again is a true thrill. You almost forget that there's energy in the audience that you feed off of as a performer. The reactions, little laughs, and shock of them experiencing the show for the first time is energy for the performers to use, so I'm so happy we get to be back with audiences again!

How does this role compare to other roles you've done?

It's one of the bigger roles I've done. When you think about the sheer amount of music as well as French dialogue. It's also the most complex. Carmen is a very complex and guarded woman. She's also very performative so it's almost like performing your own one woman play within a play. And then the few moments she does show her true self have to be huge which is exciting as well because of the stark juxtaposition.

Do you have a favorite moment in the production?

I think musically my favorite part is in act two in the duet between Carmen and Don Jose where she finally explains what she would want her life in love to look like. I also love all the ensemble parts of this show. The quintet is really fun and of course the act 4 finale, even though it's quite heavy dramatically, is very musically liberating and satisfying.

What was the process for developing your character?

I think I tried to understand her world. She's very tied to her roots and her beliefs but has no real family, friends, or true lovers that we see, so I really had to understand what she believed in and stood for to understand her. Then I understood that she thrives off of being a chameleon in the world as she is naturally an outcast of "normal" society. So, she is very driven by survival and getting what she wants, needs and values at that time. And all her desires could change by the minute. I think that's also why everyone is so enthralled with her. She's deeply rooted and yet completely unattached.

How was working with the cast and the creative team?

It's been a true joy! Working with Denyce Graves who is a definitive Carmen of our time and just getting to soak up knowledge from her as she's directing is a once in a lifetime chance. She has also given me some real career gem advice along the way that I'm very appreciative of.

Everyone on the team is so dedicated to making this the best it can be and it shows in their work ethic and in our final product!

What do you hope the audience takes away from seeing this production?

I honestly just hope we can take them away for a few hours. We are still dealing with covid and we are just getting back to performing. I hope the audience is captured by the performance and can experience theater again for the first time in a while. I also hope they see the community aspect and humanism of Carmen as a woman and not as the symbol she's painted to be. I want to expose more of her human reactions to life and situations. Though she is guarded, sharp and intense, she is still a woman and a part of a community, which is where her true beauty lies.

What are your favorite local spots?

I love Guava Cuban Cafe, Handsome Hog, and Afro Deli here in Minneapolis!

Thank you so much Zoie for your time! We look forward to seeing you!

For tickets and information, click here

Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Opera

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