The Opéra de Montréal recently announced that it will be webcasting one of its most large-scale recent productions, Carmen by Bizet. Presented in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier in 2019, this classic of the repertoire is the result of a collaboration with Quebec filmmaker Charles Binamé, who directed the production.
This new version of Carmen features the Orchestre Métropolitain, as well as the Opéra de Montréal Chorus, and the choristers of Les Petits chanteurs du Mont-Royal. The webcast became available March 19 at a cost of $19.99 (+ taxes and fees) per unique access code, and will remain available online for one year, until March 19, 2022, at 11:59 pm.
“This is a colossal production: over 200 people were involved at each performance, on stage and behind the scenes, from the soloists to the craftspeople, not to mention choristers, musicians, dancers, actors, and stagehands,” recalls Patrick Corrigan, General Director of the Opéra de Montréal. “Creating a production of this scale during a pandemic, with the required physical distancing measures, would simply be impossible. But we’re happy to be making this very memorable and successful production available to everyone. We’re looking forward to seeing our audience and our artisans again in this way.”
The company’s decision to invite major Quebec-based artists working outside of the world of opera — like Charles Binamé — to put their creative genius to work on the opera stage has met with enthusiasm among audiences. Carmen’s all-Canadian cast features mezzo-soprano Krista de Silva portraying the famous gypsy girl, tenor Antoine Bélanger in the role of corporal Don José, baritone Christopher Dunham as the torero Escamillo, and soprano France Bellemare in the role of Micaëla.
It is also worth noting that, on February 23, 2020, as part of the A Carmen for all of Quebec! event, 26 multidisciplinary venues all across the province, mainly outside of Montreal, broadcast this same production on their screens. At the time, Opera de Montreal had teamed up with Télé-Québec’s La Fabrique Culturelle to offer a complete experience by presenting two educational videos produced by La Fabrique. A Carmen for all of Quebec! Was an initiative stemming from discussions with the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec, allowing several local artists and artisans to extend their reach beyond the city limits.
Despite the closure of performance venues for the past 12 months, the company is adapting by developing new ways to enjoy opera — for example, by continuing its many education and outreach activities, or by webcasting its productions. Online presentations of Opéra de Montréal productions are in keeping with its values of accessibility and the democratization of opera. This is made possible through a subsidy from the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec as part of the Ambition numérique initiative.
While awaiting the easing of health and safety restrictions and the possibility of safely resuming its in-person productions, the entire Opéra de Montréal team is hard at work on its program for next season.
For further details, see www.operademontreal.com
— Opéra de Montréal