Viva la revolución

The chorus of the Welsh National Opera performing Bizet's Carmen, one of three operas they will bring to the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton next week. Photo credit: Jeni Clegg
The chorus of the Welsh National Opera performing Bizet's Carmen, one of three operas they will bring to the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton next week. Photo credit: Jeni Clegg
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Liberty or Death’ is the phrase of the week at the Mayflower Theatre as it hosts a trio of operas performed by the Welsh National Opera which focus on personal or national liberation.

A revival of Bizet’s Carmen and two new productions of Rossini’s Moses in Egypt and William Tell will be performed from Wednesday to Saturday.

The Welsh National Opera’s artistic director David Pountney says: ‘In our season “Liberty or Death” the destiny of the state is what is at stake on the one hand, and the liberty of the individual on the other.

‘These are massive ideas, and the genius of Rossini and Bizet is equal to the task of giving them voice in the context of gripping and important dramas. Big ideas flowing with big emotion: this is what opera is for.’

On Wednesday and Thursday, Carmen is in town. The famous opera tells the story of the eponymous heroine, a Spanish gypsy girl who would rather die than surrender her liberty.

Conducted by James Southall, mezzo-soprano Kirstin Chávez will sing the title role of Carmen, with Gwyn Hughes-Jones and Kostas Smoriginas singing the roles of her lovers, soldier Don Jose and the dashing toreador Escamillo.

On Friday, Moses in Egypt will be performed. A biblical epic composed in Naples, this new production examines the Exodus story using costumes inspired by the vibrant colours of artist Marc Chagall.

Hungarian bass-baritone Miklós Sebestyén will sing Moses, with Barry Banks singing Aronne.

Using the same set as Moses in Egypt, William Tell closes the WNO’s run at the Mayflower next Saturday. Rossini’s last opera, William Tell is based on the Swiss struggle for independence against Austria.

The role of William Tell will be sung by David Kempster and the performance will feature dance s and 19th century costumes designed by Marie-Jeanne Lecca.

Carmen comes to the Mayflower on November 26-27, Moses in Egypt on November 28 and William Tell on November 29.

Tickets: £8-£43, pre-show talks available. Call (023) 8071 1811 or visit mayflower.org.uk

To watch a trailer for Carmen, visit portsmouth.co.uk/video.