Carmen

Armidale Town Hall - April 1965

Stage Direction by Paul Lamb 
Musical Direction by Neville Meale

 By Bizet.

SYNOPSIS

Act I - A square in Seville

Micaela, a peasant girl, comes to inquire of the guard for Don Jose, a young brigadier to whom she is devoted and whose mother hopes one day to see them united. He arrives with the change of guard and Micaela after handing him his mother's letter and some money, kisses him for her and departs. Meanwhile the girls of the cigar factory have strolled out for the mid-day interval, smoking their cigarettes and are accosted by the young men. Carmen, a gypsy working in the factory, is an especial favourite and receives marked attention from all save Don Jose. Piqued by his indifference, she throws a sprig of cassia at him and runs off. Later on a quarrel occurs in the factory and Carmen is arrested for stabbing one of her comrades. Whilst waiting to be taken to prison she tries her fascinations upon Don Jose and after making a rendezvous with him, persuades him to let her escape. He does so, with the result that he is himself arrested, imprisoned for a couple of months and reduced to the ranks.

Act II - Lillas Pastia's tavern, near Seville

Carmen and her gipsy friends, Frasquita and Mercedes are singing and dancing for the amusement of some officers, including Zuniga, a lieutenant of Don Jose's regiment, who ordered her arrest but is one of her admirers. The revels are interrupted by a brief visit from a famous Toreador Escamillo, who is much struck by Carmen's beauty. His advances receive no immediate encouragement for Carmen is expecting Don Jose, just released from prison. When the crowd has departed the three gypsy girls are joined by their friends Dancairo and Remendado who invite them to aid in one of their smuggling expeditions. Carmen refuses on the ground that she has fallen in love but promises to ask her new lover to join their band. Don Jose arrives. Carmen dances for him and strives in vain to induce him to desert. He is about to leave her when Zuniga returns. A quarrel ensues and Jose draws on his officer. He is about to leave her when Zuniga returns. A quarrel ensues and Jose draws on his officer. The whole gipsy band rush in and stop the fight. Don Jose has no alternative but to go off with Carmen and her companions.

Act III - A mountain pass, some weeks later

The smugglers halt at night on one of their journeys across the Sierra whilst Dancairo goes forward to reconnoitre. Carmen has now tired of Don Jose and would fain be rid of him. His love is of a more enduring type. She watches the girls telling their fortunes with cards and seeks to learn her own fate in similar fashion. The cards invariably predict her death at the hand of Don Jose. At daybreak a move is made and when the pass is clear Micaela comes to see Jose who has been left some distance below to watch the bales of contraband. He does not see her but subsequently perceives and fires at Escamillo who in turn has come in search of Carmen. Micaela speedily hides while Jose and Escamillo have an explanation which makes their mutual position plain. They start a duel with knives but the smugglers return and separate them. Escamillo invites them all to the bull-fight at Seville and takes his leave. Micaela, discovered and dragged from her retreat informs Don Jose that his mother is dying and ultimately after a bitter scene with Carmen he decides to leave her and accompany Micaela to their home. As they are going off the Toreador is heard in the distance singing the refrain of his well-known song.

Act IV - Outside the bull-ring at Seville

The day of the bull-fight has arrived. A busy crowd watches the gay procession of the "Quadrillas" entering the circus. Escamillo with Carmen on his arm, brings up the rear. The gipsy remains outside and is warned by Frasquita and Mercedes that Don Jose is lurking near. Like the fatalist she is Carmen does not shirk this final interview. Her despairing and haggard lover duly appears and strives to persuade her to rejoin him. It is useless, she first refuses then insults him. Not heeding his menaces she at last throws at him the ring which he had given her. He then stabs her to the heart.

MUSICAL NUMBERS

Act I

'Chorus of Soldiers and Scene' - Morales and Micaela 
'Chorus of Boys and Scene' - Morales, Don Jose and Zuniga
'Chorus of Men and Cigar-Girls
'Habanera' - Carmen and chorus
'Duet' - Don Jose and Micaela
'Chorus of Cigar-Girls and Scene'
'Seguidilla and Duet' - Don Jose and Carmen

Act II

'Gipsy Air and Dance' - Carmen with Fasquita and Mercedes
'Toreador's Song' - Escamillo
'Quintet' - Dancairo, Remendado, Carmen, Frasquita and Mercedes
'Canzonet' - Don Jose
'Duet' - Don Jose and Carmen
'Flower Song' - Don Jose

Act III

'Smugglers' Chorus and Sextet'
'Card Trio' - Carmen, Frasquita and Mercedes 
'Quintet and Chorus'
'Air' - Micaela
'Duet' - Don Jose and Escamillo

Act IV

'Chorus of Street Vendors
'March (Procession to the bull-fight) and Chorus'
'Duet'

CAST

Carmen: May Robins, Micaela: Grace Woodhouse, Frasquita: Lou Randall, Mercedes: Beryl Sattler, Don Jose: Charles Smith, Escamillo: Hugh McCrindle, Dancairo: Bob Dunn, Remendado: Stan Warren, Zuniga: Alan McEachern, Morales: Bob Dunn, Lillas Pastia: Neal McInnes

Chorus Women: Margaret Coggan, Jennifer Hutchinson, Sibylla Miller, Robyn Richardson, Margaret Merrick, Jenny Post, Judy Sewell, Anne Jensen, Lucie Grey, Els Coventry, Deidre Poulton, Jeanette Pankhurst, Judy Reece, May Croaker, Catherine Cooper, Winifred Betts, Brigitte Boots, Beryl Richardson, Robyn Cook, Winsome Fayle, Eleanor Galletly, Joyce Harrison, Susan Sorrell

Chorus Men: Max Post, Dennes Fayle, Tony Nott, Max Collins, Bob Foster, Arthur Robins, Ilford Keena, Peter Poggioli, Bruce Leman, John McFarlane, Geoff Burkhardt, David Robins

Speciality Dancers: Rosalie Fairhall, Margaret Merrick, Lynn Barnett, Wendy Greet

Chorus of Boys: Neil Baillie, Robert Brennan, Peter Browne, Bryan Cork, Ian Cullen, Russell Esdaile, Robert Lancaster, Glenn McClymont, Robert Miller, James Mulvey, Philip Wheaton, Lindsay Wittig, Jonathan Woolmington, Gregory Yeates

Townspeople: Joy Hayward, Robyn O'Brien, Jan Miller, Katherine Thompson, Robin Robertson, Margaret Murray, John Plunkett, Rob Evans, Trevor Swann, Kay Wheatly, Lui Coiacetto, Margaret Duncan, Kryan Robinson, John Maurer, Dennis Taylor

ORCHESTRA

Violins: Lois Kesteven (Leader), Chris Bettle, Eunice Allingham, Lucy Poggioli, Isabel Dupre, Elfi Sturmer, Florence Brereton, Val Wheaton, Violas: Leonard Bell, Brian Harrison, Cellos: Nora Darling, Elizabeth Lewis,Flute: Neville Fletcher, Margaret Hawkins, Piccolo: Margaret Hawkins, Oboe: Evan Lewis, Clarinets: Jim Hawkins, Leo Atherton, Bassoon: Martin Woolley, Trumpet: Lyle Peter, Tympani/Triangle: Norma Bell,Cymbals/Tambourine: Mainie Atherton, Piano: Barbara McGarity

PRODUCTION TEAM

Stage Direction: Paul Lamb 
Musical Direction: Neville Meale
Assistant Musical Director: Warren Newman
Stage Manager: Geoffrey Randall
Lighting: John Wiseman, Don Veale, Don Roach
Properties: Tim Kirkwood, Betty Brown
Make-up: Lynn Barnett
Choreographer: Rosalie Fairhall
Costumes: Muriel Jensen 
Costume Assistants: Frances O'Brien, Claire Dawson
Rehearsal Pianists: Barbara McGarity, Betty McEachern
Publicity Officer: Peter Poggioli
Programme Cover/Posters: Lionel Gailer
Photography: Frank Anderson
Business and House Manager: Peter Hutchinson

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Armidale Teachers' College for rehearsal venue, Newell's for loan of piano