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Mastervoices Presents CARMEN With Harnick's English Translation


MasterVoices continues its 2019-20 season on Thursday April 2, at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Artistic Director Ted Sperling will lead a concert staging of Bizet's Carmen in its original Opéra Comique version, with dialogue rather than recitative, sung in English translation by award-winning Broadway lyricist Sheldon Harnick. His translation of Carmen was commissioned and premiered by the Houston Grand Opera in 1981 and served as the English text for Peter Brook's ingenious 90-minute La tragédie de Carmen which was performed at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in New York in 1984. The MasterVoices performance will mark the New York premiere of the full translation.

American mezzo soprano Peabody Southwell, acclaimed for "her stylistic mastery and ripe, sensual sound" (Opera Magazine, UK), is Carmen. Rising American tenor Noah Stewart also stars as the naïve soldier, Don José. Highly demanded and "faultlessly gleaming" (Financial Times) lyric soprano Nicole Cabell sings the role of Micaëla and the "superb" (New York Times) baritone Steven LaBrie appears as Escamillo in this staging featuring the 150-member MasterVoices chorus and Orchestra of St. Luke's. Sammi Cannold, recently recognized in Forbes Magazine's "30 Under 30 in Hollywood & Entertainment," directs, and the choreographer is Gustavo Zajac, who staged the dances for MasterVoices' 2015 The Pirates of Penzance.

On her approach to the project Ms. Cannold expressed: "I'm exceptionally excited to be bringing Carmen to life with MasterVoices and under Ted Sperling's tremendous leadership. This production aims to explore Carmen's relationship to freedom, manipulation, and liberation in service of probing at what power meant for women in 19th century Europe and more importantly, how we view that power now. Ted and I are so fortunate to be joined by such phenomenal performers as well as our choreographer Gustavo Zajac, whose work in the piece will revolve around bringing the above narrative to life through lyrical and flamenco dance."

Maestro Sperling says, "At MasterVoices, we enjoy performing in many genres, with a long tradition of blurring the line between opera and musical theater. Carmen was originally a piece of music theater, and only later became the grand opera we are most familiar with. I'm excited to perform it as originally conceived, and also to be presenting it in a sleek, modern dress production, with the orchestra visible, so that the audience can enjoy the intricacies of the orchestration. The intimate Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center is an ideal place to present the piece this way: the cast will practically be in the audience's lap! We will be making judicious edits in both score and dialogue, preserving the riches of the music while keeping the plot moving forward with great momentum under Sammi Cannold's direction."

Thursday, April 2, 2020, 8:00 pm

Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center


Music by Georges Bizet, libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, English Translation by Sheldon Harnick


Orchestra of St. Luke's

Conducted by Ted Sperling

Directed by Sammi Cannold

Choreography by Gustavo Zajac

Lighting Design by Brian Tovar


  • CARMEN Peabody Southwell (mezzo soprano)
  • DON JOSÉ Noah Stewart (tenor)
  • ESCAMILLO Steven LaBrie (baritone)
  • MICAËLA Nicole Cabell (soprano)
  • FRASQUITA Maria Brea (soprano)
  • REMENDADO César Delgado (tenor)
  • DANCAIRO & MORALES Michael Kelly (baritone)
  • ZUNIGA Adam Lau (bass)
  • MERCEDES Kimberly Sogioka (mezzo soprano)

Tickets: Priced from $30 to $175, may be purchased at the Jazz at Lincoln Center box office, Broadway at 60th Street, or by calling 212.721.6500 or 212.647.0251. Tickets may be purchased online at

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