Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre (PBDT), led by Natasha Middleton, artistic director and choreographer, will kick off its 17th season with a Southern California tour of the full-length ballet “Carmen,” based on Georges Bizet’s opera and Prosper Mérimée’s original story with special string and percussion musical arrangements conceived by Rodion Shehedrin. The production stars Elen Harutyunyan as Carmen, Gregori Arakelyan as Don José, Preston Swovelin as Escamillo, Damara Titmus as Micaëla and Alexander Fost as Remendado.
“Carmen” is the story of a wild gypsy girl working in a cigarette factory in Seville, Spain. Carmen lives for passions – sensuality and money. She is arrested for injuring her co-worker in the cigarette factory and is turned over to a young Army corporal, Don José, to take to jail. However, she manages to seduce him with her wild seductive ways and taunts him until he finally unties her and lets her go. He, in turn, is arrested and spends a month in jail.
When he is released, he returns to Carmen and finds her at Lillas Pastias’s Inn, where he is confronted by his superior officer, Lieutenant Zuniga, who is also in love with Carmen. Rather than lose her love, Don José deserts his military duties, his mother and his childhood sweetheart, Micaëla, and joins Carmen’s band of smugglers. Carmen’s friends, Frasquita and Mercédès read their fortunes from the cards foretelling Carmen’s and Don José’s ultimate fate.
As is her usual way, Carmen becomes bored with Don José and leaves him for Spain’s most famous matador, Escamillo. Don José finds Carmen with Escamillo outside of the Bull Ring in Seville and, when Escamillo leaves, he confronts Carmen and begs her to return to him. When she refuses, Don José enters into a jealous rage of betrayal. A fight ensues which ends in Carmen’s tragic demise.
“I am looking forward to bringing our full-length production of ‘Carmen’ into geographic areas in Southern California where we have never performed before, including Redondo Beach and Thousand Oaks,” said Middleton. “As we kick off our 17th anniversary season, this is our first touring show. It’s exciting to be expanding.”
General admission tickets for the performance at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. are $40, $45, $50 and $60 each. Tickets can be purchased 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling BrownPaperTickets.com at (800) 838-3006, press 1 and mention Event #3376012. Tickets can be purchased online at www.pacificballetdancetheatre.com.
Tickets for the performance at the Janet & Ray Scherr Forum Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Center, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks on Sunday, Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. are $45, $55 and $65 each. Tickets can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets can be purchased online at www.pacificballetdancetheatre.com.