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Contact: Carol Brejot, or 713-503-3885


Peter Brook’s Interpretation Puts a New Spin on Bizet’s Carmen


Sishel Claverie (Carmen, Ruby Cast) Photography by Mariam Khalili

HOUSTON (March 3, 2015) – Tickets are now on sale for Opera in the Heights’ (OH) production of La tragédie de Carmen, the Peter Brook interpretation of Carmen by Georges Bizet. This is the final opera presented by the company in the 2014 – 2015 season, which kicked off in September with Rigoletto, followed by Hänsel und Gretel in November and La clemenza di Tito in January and February.

La tragédie de Carmen is not an abridged version of Carmen; it is a wildly imaginative retelling of the story that stands on its own as a theatrical tour de force,” says Eiki Isomura, OH’s conductor for the production. “The familiar tunes are there but thoroughly re-scored and re-contextualized to highlight the opera’s darkest themes. The visceral impact of this piece is truly extraordinary, and I cannot imagine a better venue in which to experience it than Lambert Hall.”

The story line of La tragédie de Carmen is summed up as the “tragic tale of the ultimate femme fatale, the naïve soldier she seduces, and his rival, the glamorous toreador.”  Brook has noted that “everything is trimmed away to focus on the intense interactions, the tragedy of four people.” The production received two prestigious awards in 1984, including the Drama Desk Award for “Unique Theatre Experience” and a Tony Award titled “Special Award for Outstanding Achievement in Musical Theatre.”

“Opera in the Heights is honored to be debuting La tragédie de Carmen to Houston audiences for the very first time,” says Mariam Khalili, OH executive director.  “Our patrons will experience stunning visual art, passionate romance, thrilling fight scenes, and of course, Georges Bizet’s brilliant musical score. Opera in the Heights has brought together an inspired team of artists to bring this opera to life – gifted young singers, exceptional visual artists, the finest of orchestras, and even a stage combat specialist.”

This Opera in the Heights production will be guided by Lynda Keith McKnight, veteran OH stage director and UH professor, along with Isomura, who will conduct OH’s highly-touted orchestra. Appearing in the double-cast La Tragedie de Carmen are Sishel Claverie and Briana Hunter as Carmen; Brent Turner and José Daniel Mojica as Don José; Lisa Borik as Micaela and Jared Guest in the role of Escamillo. Joining the four main characters are actors Aidan Smerud (Pastia/Garcia) and Andrew Gilstrap (Zuniga/Gitane.)

La tragédie de Carmen runs for two weekends (and a Thursday show) with performance dates of Mar. 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 at 7:30 p.m. and matinees on Mar. 22 and Mar. 29 at 2 p.m., all at historic Lambert Hall in the Houston Heights. Thursday, Mar. 26, is “Student Night,” and anyone with a valid student ID or students age 18 and under are invited to sit anywhere in the theater for the regular student ticket price of $15, regardless of seat level.

Regular single ticket prices for the production are $35-$67, senior tickets are $32-$58 and student tickets are $15-$17 anytime in designated areas. If you have not experienced the magic of Opera in the Heights, now is your opportunity. You can order tickets online at  or call the box office at 713-861-5303. Use code: STUDENTNIGHT to take advantage of the Thursday night promotion.

Opera in the Heights, a professional regional performing arts company, provides a stage for emerging artists and brings affordable opera to the greater Houston area. All operas are fully staged with orchestra and presented in the original language with English surtitles projected above the stage.