Utah Opera Announces May Production of “La tragedie de Carmen” for Five Live Performances

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (March 9, 2021) – Utah Opera today announced its first live production at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre since Salt Lake County closed venues in the fall: an adaptation of Georges Bizet’s classic opera, “Carmen,” by Marius Constant, Jean-Claude Carrière, and Peter Brook, will hit the stage for five performances in May 2021. Current ticket holders and subscribers will be contacted to confirm their attendance plans.

Peter Brook’s 1981 La tragédie de Carmen (The Tragedy of Carmen) is more than a shorter, recut version of Bizet’s Carmen. While it pares the cast down to four singers, accompanied by a chamber orchestra, and is filled with musical passages from Bizet’s famous opera, La Tragédie is a nearly complete reworking of the story focused on the intense interactions and tragedy of the four central characters. 

Utah tenor Isaac Hurtado makes his Utah Opera debut in the role of the young officer Don José, who catches the eye of the beguiling Carmen, sung by Utahn soprano Kirstin Chávez. Called “the Carmen of a lifetime” by Larry Lash of Opera News,” Ms. Chávez is praised for her “dark, generous mezzo, earthy eroticism, volcanic spontaneity and smoldering charisma.” After aiding Carmen escape from the law, Don José is jailed, demoted, and kills his superior Zuniga before running off with Carmen. Meanwhile, Don José’s childhood sweetheart Micaëla, sung by Utah Opera Resident Artist Julia Gershkoffsearches for him while he confronts the other men in Carmen’s life: Escamillo, portrayed by baritone Efraín Solís, praised by The San Francisco Chronicle for his “theatrical charisma and musical bravado,” and her husband, Garcia, sung by Utah Opera Resident Artist Brandon Bell. 

Abravanel Hall and Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre will reopen on March 25 under Phase One of Salt Lake County’s health and safety guidelines, which includes reduced capacity audiences, six-foot distancing between households while seated, mandatory face coverings, and the other requirements related to health and safety guidelines USUO established when it resumed performances in the fall.  

The May production of La tragédie de Carmen represents the first live performances back in Capitol Theatre since October, when Utah Opera presented a double bill of two short operas, Francis Poulenc’s The Human Voice” and Joseph Horovitz’ “Gentleman’s Island.” The company determined that the originally-planned season opening opera, Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman,” would not be possible to execute in the fullness of its vision given the state of physical distancing and health restrictions.  

Salt Lake County initially closed performing arts venues for audiences from November 23 through December 31, 2020. The venue closures were extended until the end of February, and most recently, until March 24. The closure and subsequent extensions came in response to rising numbers of Covid-19 cases and were out of an abundance of caution for community health and safety. Prior to the November closure, the orchestra and opera company had resumed live performances in Abravanel Hall and the Janet Quinney Capitol Theatre in September, October, and November with shorter in-person programs that required fewer musicians to allow for greater physical distancing between artists, stringent health and safety protocols, and reduced audience capacity inside the performance venues. 

“La tragédie de Carmen” is sung in French with English supertitles, and is approximately 90 minutes with no intermission. 


Utah Opera presents 
Peter Brook’s “La tragédie de Carmen”
May 8 & 14, 2021 | 7:30 PM
May 10 & 12, 2021 | 7 PM
May 16, 2021 | 2 PM 
Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre 

Adapted from Georges Bizet’s opera by Marius Constant, Jean-Claude Carrière, and Peter Brook 

Ari Pelto, conductor 
Omer Ben Seadia, director 
Tláloc López-Watermann, lighting/video designer
Kirstin Chávez, Carmen 
Isaac Hurtado, Don José 
Efraín Solís, Escamillo 
Julia Gershkoff, Micaëla 
Brandon Bell, Zuniga/Garcia 
Daniel O’Hearn, Lillas Pastia 
Edith Grossman, Old Gypsy 
Utah Symphony 


Due to Salt Lake County’s current capacity restrictions, the performances are currently sold out to subscribers, who will be contacted by USUO Patron Services for information about seating and attendance preferences.