Opera comes to town
By JULIA ILES
AN array of operatic talent will perform for Grafton residents on August 12 in a rendi- tion of Carmen, a clas- sic English opera based in the 1950s. OzOpera will bring a cast of 14 singers and an 11-piece chamber orchestra to the Graf- ton Regional Sports and Entertainment Centre as part of a re- gional tour. The production fea- tures actors portraying smugglers, gypsies, sol- diers and a bull-fight- er. Tour organiser David Harrod said the tour was a chance for coun- try residents to experi- ence opera. "The last tour we went on we performed to 23,000 people and got a lot of positive responses; it gives young artists without much experience a chance to perform," he said. "We have two rotat- ing casts and this is
the biggest fully stagged production we could manage." The cast includes opera singers Tania Ferris and Dimity Shepherd as Carmen, with Bradley Daley and Stephen Smith as
Don Jose. The production's di- rector, Adam Cook, said the mission of OzOpera was to bring great opera to all Australians, regardless of where they live. "Carmen is an audi-
ence favourite, it re- volves around univer- sal themes everyone can relate to ? pas- sion, jealousy and heartbreak," Mr Cook said. He said first-timers and opera buffs would delight in this perfor- mance of Carmen. "The Carmen Opera set in the 1950s tells a story of a headstrong cigarette factory girl who seduces a young soldier with a tragic result. The cast will be accompanied by a chamber orchestra led by Julia De Plater," Mr Cook said. According to event organisers it is the first time the Sports and Entertainment Centre has been used for an artistic event. The Carmen 10-week tour, sponsored by Australia Post, will bring opera to various regional communities throughout Victoria, NSW and South Aust- ralia. Tickets can be pur- chased from Buckley's Grafton Music, 42 Prince St, 6642 4710.