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Santa Monica College Stages 'Carmen' This Month  

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By Lookout Staff

May 8, 2017 -- The Santa Monica College music department will have a chance to showcase its talents in a fully staged performance of Georges Bizet’s masterpiece “Carmen” this month.

The opera -- which shocked and scandalized audiences when it debuted in 1875 -- has become a staple of opera houses and two of its arias are among the best-known in the repertoire.

The SMC Opera Theatre’s richly costumed production "sweeps audiences into the drama of deadly seduction in Bizet’s romantic and dangerous world of gypsies, smugglers, bullfighters, and Flamenco," event organizers said.

Based on a novella of the same title by the French author Prosper Mérimée, "Carmen" is the tale of "a love gone bad in Seville, Spain, between Don José -- a young and naive soldier -- and Carmen, an exotic gypsy woman," organizers said.

Carmen seduces Don José, who abandons his childhood sweetheart and deserts from the army only to lose his love to the elegant toreador Escamillo. In the opera's climactic scene, Don José stabs Camen to death in a jealous rage.

SMC's production -- which will be staged Wednesday, May 17; Saturday, May 20, and Sunday, May 21, in The Broad Stage at the SMC Performing Arts Center -- includes three members of the SMC faculty and features students and community members, organizers said.

SMC Voice Professor Dr. Janelle Destefano performs in the role of Carmen, SMC Dance Professor Cihtli Ocampo contributes choreography and SMC Music Coach Mercedes Juan Musotto makes her debut at the podium as conductor, organizers said.

“The greatness that is SMC allows us to incorporate our own Music students with the Santa Monica community to create the greatness that is ‘Carmen,’” said Gail Gordon, SMC Opera Theatre Director since 2009.

Tickets are $35 General Admission ($10 for current SMC students with valid ID). A modest service charge applies.

Advance tickets can be purchased online at or by calling (310) 434-3005. Tickets also can be purchased at the box office up to 1 hour before the performance start time. Free parking is available on the premises.

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