BLANKE KNOCHEN OPERA presents
Carmen: a Fresh Take on a Classic Tickets
7:00pm, Wed 5th October, 2016
Howler, MELBOURNE, VIC
Blanke Knochen Opera makes its debut in October, presenting a fresh take on the classic opera, Carmen.
Inspired by black-box theatre, BK Opera aims to strip back opera to its emotional core, providing a minimalist take on the extravagance usually associated with the artform.
In their debut production of Carmen, the heart of the story is reinterpreted for a modern audience. "With the current epidemic of domestic violence, slut shaming and victim blaming in our culture, we couldn't in good conscience present the traditional view of Carmen as some femme fatale," says Kate Millett, director and co-founder of Blanke Knochen Opera. "We wanted to show this story from a modern viewpoint. Don Jos is no longer the eager to please ingenue transfixed by the seductress. He leads himself down the path to temptation through a misplaced sense of entitlement."
Also hoping to inject new life into an artform with a dwindling audience, BK Opera's Carmen will be shown in an unexpected venue. "Once we walked through the doors of Howler," says James Penn, the other co-founder and conductor of BK Opera, "we fell in love with the space. It had the energy and atmosphere we wanted to showcase in Carmen." BK Opera has also lined up some of Melbourne's finest young djs and electronic musicians performing before the performance and during the intermission.
The other side to Blanke Knochen Opera is its aim to provide important singing experience to emerging singers. "There is a real gap in the professional development of operatic talent," says Penn, "Melbourne, and Australia in general, has amazing professional companies, as well as solid training facilities, but few smaller companies for emerging singers to learn stagecraft and hone their skills. We aim to provide that stepping stone."
Making her debut as Carmen is the up-and-coming mezzo-soprano, Bianca Majchrzak. A regular with the Melbourne Opera chorus, Bianca has already impressed critics with her roles as Lola in Cavelleria Rusticana and Laetitia in the Zoo. Singing opposite Bianca, as Don Jos , is the tenor Patrick MacDevitt. Hailing from the United States, Patrick is currently a member of the Opera Australia chorus and has performed with Melbourne Lyric Opera and the Nagambie Lakes Opera Festival. Patrick has made his mark playing the titular role in Rameau's Pygmalion with Melbourne Lyric and Britten's Prodigal Son with Kentucky Opera.
Blanke Knochen Opera will be raising money throughout their performances for local domestic violence shelters through the sale of white roses that the audience is invited to throw on the body of Carmen in the final scene.