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JOSÉ

(Commercial Tenor)

He is a young and very handsome peasant: we understand the instant appeal he has for Carmen. By nature violent and passionate, he has repressed his true self to conform to the claims first of Christianity and now of the Army. He has been brainwashed by the power-hungry local priest, Father Alberto: but events force him to go on his own spiritual journey. Finally the warring claims of rival philosophies - and guilt about his ambivalent mentor - drive him demented. He has huge intellect - and huge libido: and the two are often at war.

CARMEN

(Mezzo-Soprano/Rock-Pop Feel)

Like José her physical appeal is immediate and obvious: she looks wonderful as she strips and is stripped. Her sexuality is both a joy and a burden as everyone who sees her wants to make love to her. Following an incident in childhood with a pack of Tarot cards, she has an over-developed awareness of death - so she carries an air of reckless fatalism about her. She belongs to no-one - and to no school of philosophy. She can sometimes see into the future - but believes the only reality is the here and now. She is held for a moment by José's vision of a spiritual existence: but this is soon dispelled by the claims of fun and sex. She has a cheekiness of manner that both infuriates and excites figures of authority. Finally she wins by foreseeing her own death, embracing and organising it.

ESCAMILLO

(Commercial Baritone)

A shanty-town kid who has kicked his way to become the star striker of the Santa Maria Football team. He has no politics - but has a deep understanding of Santa Maria and what its people need. He knows his own worth - but displays a strange humility in the face of love and time. He has a natural courtesy and dignity - shot through with a ruthless instinct to survive. He is genuinely attracted Carmen - and genuinely respects her magical powers.

MICHAELA

('Operatic' Soprano)

A very bright peasant girl who, like José, has fallen under the intellectual influence of the village priest, Father Alberto. If José had not been around she would certainly have become a nun. She does finally take the veil. She has a genuine selflessness - so when José leaves her she has no bitterness. Doubts and shadows play across her mind, though - and finally she is not sure that Father Alberto - or the Catholic Church - have the answer for her. It is essential that the actress playing this role should possess a pure, high soprano. It would be ideal for a young woman who has Maria from `West Side Story' within her range.

ZUNIGA

(Baritone/Singspeak)

An elegant man in the late forties; witty, cruel - with a total belief in the President's military rule in Santa Maria. He relishes power - and perverse situations. He goes to bed with Carmen to discredit her in José's eyes - but he is also attracted to her and resents the power she and all women have over him. He is passionately - and selflessly - in love with José. He is very observant and sees situations before they occur. Often he creates them. He would sacrifice his own self-interest to the State. He also has the intellectual power to relish his own absurdity.

FRASQUITA

(Soprano/Singspeak)

A big, warm-hearted failure of a ballet-dancer - earthy, sympathetic and sexy. A good friend of Carmen - and a very forgiving lover of Remendado. It is essential that she can dance well as she dances the Tai Chi ballet with Mercedes. It would be good if she could simulate going up on points for `Racing Like a Rat'.

REMENDADO

(Baritone/Singspeak)

A revolutionary journalist, soured by invective and inactivity. Too much brain - but a heart and a humour gradually emerge. A powerful, weasel-faced man in the mid-30's - whose merest look can wreck the enjoyment of a roomful of dancing people. Not a man to cross - and a man who would be sweeter if he had had an iota of success. He finally unbends, drops his Marxist beliefs and has fun with life.

MERCEDES

(Soprano/Singspeak)

A small, metal-sharp Tai-Chi instructor. Cynical, witty - and a stirrer. Her metal nature can be melted by Duncaire's fire - but not by anyone else's. Flirts with Escamillo. Must be able to perform Tai Chi as it is her job and she initiates the Tai Chi ballet. It would also be good if she can assume extreme yoga positions.

DUNCAIRE

(Commercial Baritone)

A fiery, passionate revolutionary and poet. Fiercely loyal, not very intellectual, he would rather like to be a star. He and Remendado have a deep friendship - and relish each other's company when they are not at each other's throats.

LILY - a Drag Queen

(Speaking Role)

A large drag queen in high heels. Lily runs `Lily's Bar' with a mixture of charm and threat. When she finally speaks she does so in a Basso profundo. She has a leather slave who carries out her orders.

MORALES

(Speaking role)

A fat, lustful man in the early forties - bitter that he has been passed over for promotion. He toadies to those above him and brutalises those beneath him. He knows Carmen for what she is - and both resents her and fancies her. A cigar-chewing slob.

THE PRESIDENT OF SANTA MARIA

(Speaking Role)

A megalomaniac, a bully and a coward. He has the opening speech of the show - and is often doubled with Remendado.

ENSEMBLE

Housewives, Women factory workers, Night Club Customers, Football Supporters, Soldiers.

SETTING

There are four scenes: the new Munitions Factory in Santa Maria, Lily's Bar, the foothills of the Mountains and outside the Football Stadium. It is important that the action is continuous - and it can help if the band is visible at points. We have found it useful to employ stairs on either side of the stage and a moveable bridge: but there are endless solutions to the staging. It is important to remember that Michaela appears to José as a memory when he reads the letter she has written to him.
For a demo DVD pleaseclick here.
© 2011 Stewart Trotter & Callum McLeod
Carmen Latina the Musical