One of the most popular operas was also the fastest selling opera in Vancouver Opera’s 65 year history and this is a fete worth celebrating. It was a ravishing performance by a very large cast during the 4 act production that featured the opera’s orchestra in sync throughout.

Animated by an all-star cast and audacious stagecraft, the conflicting worlds and failed romance of the sensual, rebellious Carmen and the possessive military man Don José absolutely burst off the stage. From the stirring Toreador Song to the tauntingly seductive aria Habanera, Georges Bizet’s enduring and richly coloured melodies transcend the hummable; they don’t just gesture towards emotions, they embody the many shapes and shades of passion, from infatuation to violent jealousy. Carmen wasn’t well-received when it debuted in 1875, but Bizet’s final masterpiece has since become a perennial audience favourite and a powerful artistic platform to explore class conflict and gender inequality.

It was beneficial to attend the pre-show talk during the performance that I saw, this gave me and other audience members some insight to the production and what we all were going to see.

Carmen plays through May 5 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.