Maple Ridge soprano sings in UBC Opera's presentation of Carmen

Soprano Arianna Ervin performs as part of the chorus. - Contributed photo
Soprano Arianna Ervin performs as part of the chorus.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Maple Ridge soprano Arianna Ervin will perform this weekend in Georges Bizet’s French masterpiece Carmen presented by the UBC Opera Ensemble.

Set in 19th century Spain, Carmen tells the story of the downfall of Don José, a naïve soldier who is seduced by the wiles of the fiery gypsy, Carmen.

José abandons his childhood sweetheart and deserts from his military duties, yet loses Carmen’s love to the glamorous toreador, Escamillo, after which José kills her in a jealous rage.

Carmen shocked its earliest audiences, but has since proven to be a masterpiece and a cornerstone of the operatic repertoire.

Ervin’s passion for opera was ignited by her teachers at Maple Ridge secondary.

The 19-year-old had planned to study musical theatre but began to pursue a classical path after falling in love with the classical songs she sang with the school’s choir.

Ervin is now her second year of a music degree at the University of British Columbia and Carmen is one of her favourite operas.

For this presentation, she is singing as part of Carmen’s chorus but hopes to one day play the role of Michaela, a village maiden.

Ervin will be join on stage by many other talented singers who have come together from across Canada and the world to prepare this masterpiece for Vancouver.

All roles are double cast with Don José being played by Wei-long Tao and Kwangmin Brian Lee, Escamillo by José Ramirez and Kyle Lehmann, Micaëla by Natascia Dell’erba and Bahareh Poureslami, and the title role of Carmen being played by Francesca Corrado and Emma Parkinson.

Parkinson joins the UBC Opera Ensemble from recently completing L’Atelier Opera Lyrique Young Artist Program in Montreal and Corrado just completed her first year in the UBC Opera Masters Program.

“It is empowering to portray such a strong and vivid heroine onstage,” says Corrado.

“I feel there is a little piece of Carmen in every woman. The bold, confident seductress of Carmen’s character in Bizet’s musical language will be brought to life by maestro Leslie Dala. I have had the wonderful opportunity of working with Maestro Dala before, and I look forward to continuing to learn from him.”

The music of Carmen has been widely acclaimed for its brilliance of melody, harmony, atmosphere, and orchestration, and for the skill with which Bizet represents musically the emotions and suffering of his characters.

The magnificent set, is designed by UBC Theatre alumna Carolyn Rapanos and accompanied by beautifully crafted media screen projections by Renee Liu. Jeremy Baxter once again illuminates the fabulous opera with his exquisite lighting design.


Carmen plays at the UBC Old Auditorium, 6344 Memorial Road in Vancouver June 22, 27, 28, 29 at 7:30 p.m. and June 23, 30 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at ubcopera.universitytickets.com or by telephone at 604-822-6725.

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