Dramatic & Opera Translations

Carmen

translated and directed by Robert Cohen

Set in and around contemporary Tijuana, on the Mexican border. Premiered at UCI, 1999, with setting by Douglas Scott Goheen and costumes by Madeline Kozlowski. Full text, vivid, immensely singable, rhyming translation of Bizet’s original (Opèra Comique) version. Reading copy available; translated text matched to the score available by arrangement.

Review Excerpts

“‘CARMEN’ IS HOT AND SPICY: FIERY LOVE SCENES SIZZLE. …An updated, well-sung and acted, hot-and-spicy version. Cohen’s new, updated translation reintroduces the shock value this opera originally had when it premiered 124 years ago, and enhances the opera with sexuality. Susan Ali is one sexy, fiery Carmen. Her voluptuous portrayal is matched by a dark-hey-honey-toned mezzo-soprano that emphasize her body actions. Her love scenes with Frisque really sizzle.”
Irvine World News

“ENGLISH LIBRETTO WORKS, WITH SEXY PERFORMANCE. Cohen’s translation debuted with splendid results; smooth enough to seem idiomatic, but also in the service of a lively, well-executed production, filled with uncontrollable passion, demented jealousy and superstition. The role of Carmen doesn’t come any more passionate and seductive. An excellent production that rejected dignified understatement in favor of a dangerously seductive passion worth killing and dying for.” Peter LeFebre, —OC Register

Lyric Sample: Carmen’s “Seguidilla”

Out on the border of Tijuana
Stands a cantina called Pastia’s!
I go there to steal a
Few shots of tequila,
And spend my time,
At the sexy bar of Lillas Pastia!
It’s boring, though, when you’re alone
I’d rather have some company
Some lover I could call my own
Whom I could bring along with me.
My former beau? What good is he?
I dropped him only yesterday.
And now you know: My heart is free!
I’ll choose another lover today.
There’re lots of wooers come around me,
Yet not one that I adore.
All these handsome men surround me.
God knows just what – they’re looking for!
Who wants my love? I’m yours for the taking
You came to me – at just the right time
Take a chance!
Stop your shaking!
It’s romance!
It’s not a crime!
Out on the border of Tijuana…