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A&M talent abounds in ‘Carmen’

Shonda Devine (CONTRIBUTED)
Shonda Devine (CONTRIBUTED)

HUNTSVILLE – Alabama A&M University’s musical talent and expertise will shine in Georges Bizet’s “Carmen,” a collaboration with Ars Nova.

Show dates are Jan. 30 through Feb. 2 at Von Braun Center Playhouse.

“The incomparable and celestial Shonda Devine, assistant professor of music/voice, is the production’s music director and has been working for months with a dedicated cadre of musical performers,” university spokesman Jerome Saintjones said.

Twelve students from A&M have key roles and are chorus members. “This collaboration with Ars Nova has afforded our students an opportunity to participate in a fully staged opera,” Devine said. “Many have never seen nor performed in an opera.”

An orchestra staffed with members of the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra and youth orchestra will accompany “Carmen” vocalists. A&M students have mastered staging directions, French diction and music direction for the production.

The love story in “Carmen” is a tragic one set in 19th-century Seville, Spain, Devine said. “The text is in French, as the composer Georges Bizet was French himself. Yet the exoticism of the Spanish/Andalusian culture is prevalent in the music.”

The opera contains many familiar tunes. The dialogue will be spoken in English. Musical numbers will be sung in French with English subtitles.

A&M choral upperclassmen in “Carmen” are seniors Hannaan Ester of Memphis, Tenn., Charles Dove of Detroit, Mich. and Deric Jackson of Birmingham and juniors Christopher Cole of Camden and Demetrius Farley of Detroit.

Other student chorus members are senior Cameron Randle of St. Louis, Mo. sophomore Chrystal Turner of Birmingham and freshmen Indigo Askew of Cleveland, Ohio, Raven Williams of Montgomery and Jonnaya Ragland of Huntsville.

Show dates are Jan. 30, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 2 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets range from $20 to $28. Student tickets on Jan. 30 are $10.

For advance tickets, call Ars Nova at 256-883-1105.

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