Sponsored by The Leisure and Cultural Services Department , Musica Viva will present Georges Bizet ‘s four act opera “Carmen” in December.

Carmen is immensely tense, with complex love relationship at surface and deep concerns on gender roles and personal freedom underneath.

Set in Seville, Spain , around 1820 , it t ells the story of the downfall of José, a soldier who is seduced by gypsy Carmen, and gave up his military duties for her, yet Carmen met the glamorous toreador Escamillo. José realized the fickleness of Carmen’s character and eventually kills her in a jealous rage. For over a century, Carmen has been the most frequently performed of all operas, and is still remained one of the half dozen most popular operas ever written.

Professionals involved in ” Carmen ” include Lo King man (producer and director) a nd Lio Kuokman (music director), together with the Hong Kong Virtuosi and the Musica Viva Chorus . World renowned opera stars who have sung with the Metropolitan Opera of New York, St. Petersburg Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera and some of the most prestigious c ompanies world wide, performing with excellent young artists of Hong Kong. The international cast for ” Carmen ” includes mezzo sopranos Carla Ló pez Speziale (Mexico), Jennifer Feinstein ( and local mezzo soprano Carol Lin as Carmen , tenors Luis Chapa (UK) and Alok Kumar (USA) as José, baritone Ricardo Rivera (USA) and local baritone Sammy Chien as Escamillo . Other local performers include sopranos Louise Kwong, Colette Lam, Jessica Ng and Joyce Wong; mezzo sopranos Melody Sze and Samantha Chong; tenors Henry Ngan and Samuel Huang ; baritones Isaac Droscha, Alexander Chen and bass Petrus Cheung.

Produced by Musica Viva, ” Carmen ” will be performed in French , with Chinese and English surtitles, at 7: 45pm on December 1 6, 17 and 18 (Friday to Sunday) an d 2: 45pm on December 18 (Sunday) at the Concert Hall of Hong Kong City Hall. Tickets priced at $150, $300, $460 and $630 are now available at URBTIX ( www.urbtix.hk ). For telephone credit card booking, please call 2111 5999 ; for ticketing enquiries, please call 2761 6661 . For programme enquiries, please call 6976 2877 or visit http://www.musicavivahk.org/

Conducted by Lo King man, two talks on the opera will be held at 6:45pm on December 17 at the Exhibition Hall of Hong Kong City Hall (conducted in Cantonese) and afte r the matine e performance on December 18 at the Concert Hall of Hong Kong City Hall (conducted in Cantonese and English). Admission is free.