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Arts & Entertainment Presented by Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts


‘Carmen’ Celebration Honoring Marilyn Horne to Start with June 11 Film Screening

By Tim Dougherty for the Music Academy of the West |

The Music Academy of the West will kick off its summer-long celebration of Bizet’s timeless opera Carmen in honor of Marilyn Horne’s 80th birthday with a screening of the 1954 musical Carmen Jones at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 11 in Hahn Hall.

The film features Horne’s soaring vocals for star Dorothy Dandridge. A brief video introduction by UCSB faculty member Mashey Bernstein will precede the screening.

Tickets cost $10.

The Music Academy’s Carmen celebration will continue with a free opera preview with KUSC’s Duff Murphy at 7 p.m. July 10 in Hahn Hall, a live OperaNow! podcast taping with Horne at 3:15 p.m. July 30 in Hahn Hall ($10), and participation in this year’s Fiesta Historical Parade on Aug. 1.

The Music Academy will present a new, fully staged production of Carmen, directed by David Paul, conducted by James Gaffigan and featuring State Street Ballet dancers, at Santa Barbara’s Granada Theatre on Aug. 1 and 3.

“Many regard Carmen as the perfect opera, and it has maintained a constant place in the repertoire since its premiere in 1875,” said Horne, long recognized as one of the most famous Carmens of all time.

Her celebrated history with Bizet’s masterpiece includes singing the title role to open the Met’s 1972-73 season. That production, which also featured Leonard Bernstein as conductor, went on to garner a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording in 1974.

“Whoever sings Carmen has to bring a lot of herself to the character. That’s one of the reasons she’s so interesting.”

Horne, who attended the Music Academy in 1953 and has directed the Academy’s renowned Voice Program since 1997, turned 80 in January.

Beginning June 16, the Music Academy of the West’s 67th annual Summer School and Festival will include some 200 events over eight weeks. The coming season will mark the first of a multiyear partnership with the New York Philharmonic that will bring Music Director Alan Gilbert and other Philharmonic musicians to the Music Academy for performances and teaching.

Gilbert’s 2014 residency under the agreement will include conducting members of the Academy Festival Orchestra in Santa Barbara’s newly renovated Lobero Theatre in July. Additional season highlights will include performances by pianists Jonathan Biss, Jeremy Denk and Stephen Hough; soprano Deborah Voigt; the contemporary chamber music ensemble eighth blackbird; violinist Daniel Hope; cellist Joshua Roman; and the Takács Quartet, as well as conducting turns by Thomas Adès, Jay Friedman, James Gaffigan, Edward Gardner, Larry Rachleff and Joshua Weilerstein.

Featuring the academy’s exceptionally talented Fellows, together with illustrious guest performers and faculty, the events will be presented in venues throughout Santa Barbara.

— Tim Dougherty is the communications manager for the Music Academy of the West.

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