French opera ‘Carmen’ with Indian angle

April 17th, 2008 - 4:08 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) French opera “Carmen”, a story of passion, love and betrayal being staged in the Indian capital from Friday, will have an Indian angle to it. The opera, being held April 18-20 at the Kamani Auditorium, is an Indo-French and Sri Lankan production.

Written by French composer Georges Bizet, the opera revolves around Carmen, a beautiful gypsy with a fiery temper.

Apart from 15 French musicians from the Ostinat O Orchestra, the opera will feature two Indian musicians and 60 Indian and Sri Lankan singers.

The opera has been brought to India by the Neemrana Music Foundation (TNMF) and is an attempt to promote operas in India. The Indian and Sri Lankan singers are from the Neemrana Opera Chorus.

“We are so happy to bring ‘Carmen’ to India. It is a beautiful opera and we wanted it to be performed here since a long time. I hope the audience enjoys it,” French Ambassador Jerome Bonnafont told IANS during a sneak preview at his residence.

Antoine Redon, an opera representative, said it had been performed in many countries. “The experience of having brought the French musicians together with Indian, Sri Lankan musicians and singers has been wonderful,” Redon said.

The stage director, Patricia Panton, has added a slight twist in the story and replaced the bullfighter with an Indian actor.

“This is a very good way to improve the cross-cultural relations. I changed the character a little to suit the Indian sensibilities so that they can connect with it more easily,” Panton told IANS.

Although she believes that Indians have a beautiful voice, she maintains that they require to be trained for years to master the art of opera singing.

Anne Maurel, the manager of the orchestra, agrees. She said: “Indian artists have a beautiful classical background but to suit the needs of an opera they need to be trained by Western musicians. This will help them adapt to the French style of singing.”

Maurel said they have been in talks with the Delhi Music Society to encourage cultural exchanges between France and India.

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