New Rochelle Opera To Celebrate 30th Anniversary With 'Carmen'

Chris Peterson

Since 1982, Camille Coppola has produced and directed full length opera productions with her leadership of the New Rochelle Opera. Initially called “Camille Coppola and Company,” the troupe and the scope were clearly expanding, and a more suitable company name was necessary. Being a lifelong New Rochelle resident, Mrs. Coppola wanted to name the company for her hometown.  The Company’s new name, New Rochelle Opera, was established in 1984 with their first production under their new incorporation going up in 1985. 

This year the company will be celebrating their 30th Anniversary by taking on one of the most well known operas of all time, Georges Bizet's Carmen. 

Passionate music tells the story of a dazzling gypsy seductress and the Spanish soldier she bewitches into a life of crime. Drawn magnetically to this femme fatale and mistaking her flirtation for true love, he forsakes all. Carmen’s fickle heart and his obsessive jealousy ultimately seal her fate. 

I asked Ms. Coppola what got her so excited about this piece,

 "Well first of all the story, but mainly the beautiful music.  From the beginning to the end the music is enthralling to me and I love every note!  I hope the audiences will take away the thrill of the opera and singing the Toreador song, which was my experience from the last two times I directed it.  If they go away singing a piece from the opera that is familiar, I know they enjoyed it! "

As a director myself, I've always wondered how directing Opera differs from plays and musicals. I asked Ms. Coppola about her directing style, 

"First, when directing an opera my style is to be true to the original story and music composed.  I am not a director who will not update or change the originality of an opera unless it is necessary(example cuts to make the opera a bit shorter).  It differs from other directors as I have seen many operas in my 30 years directing and I feel the directors are not true to the story and some directors(I think) do not study the true translation of an opera and thereby do not  direct it according to the script, dialogue, lyrics, etc."

The show runs from June 25 to 28 at the Frank J. Auriana Theatre at the Ursuline School.

1354 North Avenue
New Rochelle, NY
Tickets: $38 General Admission
$35 Seniors/Students
Producer/Director: Camille Coppola
Musical Director/Conductor: Gregory Ortega
Chorus Director: Georgianna Pappas
Set Designer: Scott R. Holdredge

Cast 1 – Performing 6/25 & 6/27
Carmen – Sishel Claverie
Don Jose – Salvatore Atti
Micaela – Zhanna Alkhazova
Escamillo – Youngjoo An
Frasquita – Kathleen Buccleugh
Mercedes – Kristen Behrmann
Remendado – Gilad Paz
Dancairo – Danny Oakden
Zuñiga – Luis Alvarado
Morales – Luke Scott

Cast A – Performing 6/26 & 6/28
Carmen – Nikola Printz
Don Jose – Michael Paul Krubitzer
Micaela – Roseanne Ackerley
Escamillo – Robert Garner
Frasquita – Barbee Monk
Mercedes – Sahoko Sato
Remendado – David Gordon
Dancairo – Steven Herring
Zuñiga – Alexander Hahn
Morales – Jonathan Hare