Carmen Adaptation Tells A Controversial Story With Must-Try Art (Exclusive)
George Bizet’s controversial yet beloved opera Carmen is getting a graphic novel adaptation thanks to Arizona Opera. Enjoy an exclusive preview.
Arizona Opera is launching a Kickstarter campaign to Carmen: the graphic novelbased on the classic opera Carmen, by the French composer George Bizet. The graphic novel features the writing of opera singer and director Alek Shrader and the art of P. Craig Russell (american gods) and Aneke (Bylines in the blood).
Carmen was a groundbreaking opera that upended many conventions when it was first performed in Paris in 1875. It is set in southern Spain and tells the story of Carmen, who seduces a stern soldier, Don José. The man abandons his fiancée and his duties to follow Carmen, who abandons him for the bullfighter Escamillo. Mad with rage, José kills Carmen, ending the opera with the tragic death of the main character on stage, which was unusual for the genre of comical opera. Carmen scandalized its early audiences with its portrayal of anarchy and transgression, but it quickly became one of the most popular operas in the classical canon.
Alek Shrader is a successful tenor who has performed with many of the world’s most prestigious opera companies. He has also recently ventured into directing and writing, and Carmen will be his first foray into the world of comics. P. Craig Russell, on the other hand, is a veteran with 50 years of experience in the industry. His escape came with the character of Killraven, and his work on the Elric of Melnibone stories – based on the character created by Michael Moorcock – for Marvel Comics and Dark Horse is legendary. Russell has also adapted many of beloved writer Neil Gaiman’s stories into comic book form, including Coraline and american gods. Aneke is a young artist and colorist who has worked primarily for DC Comics, with credits such as bat girl and Bombs. Enjoy an exclusive preview for Carmen: the graphic novel below. The project is now live on Kickstarter.
In most modern readings, the female protagonist of Carmen is appreciated as the portrayal of a strong, independent woman who doesn’t care about herself. “scandalous” behavior, and puts his freedom and his instincts before anything else. Right from the preview, it looks like the graphic novel will be very faithful to the opera and the character of Carmen. P. Craig Russell and Aneke do an amazing job depicting the colorful but also tattered world of 19th century Seville and southern Spain. About the project, Joseph Specter, president and general manager of Arizona Opera, says:
It is a pleasure for Arizona Opera to share the work of this remarkable team of artists through the graphic novel format and the timeless story of Carmen. Throughout the pandemic, our company has consistently pursued new approaches to connecting people through opera, when people need art and meaning the most. Carmen: the graphic novel represents an incredible opportunity to extend this focus on innovation, impact and community.
Kickstarter backers will also receive exclusive collector’s prints for other operas the Arizona Opera will stage in 2022: a Ariadne in Naxos print by Natacha Bustos (Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur), a Tosca print by Erica d’Urso (Red Girl Inferno) and colorist Marissa Louise (Complain). Comic Fans Should Check Out Carmen: the graphic novel for a new way of experiencing this radical story, whether for the first time or the fiftieth time.
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