Opera Western Reserve


Thursday, June 8, 2023


5th Avenue Steps & Promenade, Stambaugh Auditorium

6:30 pm: Guest arrival for dinner
7:00 pm: Dinner
7:30 pm: Guest arrival for the film
8:00 pm: Carmen Jones begins and includes a 15 minute intermission

Opera Western Reserve is pleased to present “Bizet to Belafonte: A Southern Soiree on the Promenade,” OWR’s 6th annual spring fundraiser. This event will include a Southern-style buffet dinner inspired by the film and presentation of the film Carmen Jones. Additionally, there will be a cash bar and raffle items. Movie concessions will be sold during the film.

Carmen Jones is Oscar Hammerstein II’s 1943 Broadway adaptation of Bizet’s renowned opera Carmen. This 1954 film tells a story of love, betrayal, and tragedy. Carmen Jones (Dorothy Dandridge), a free spirited woman from North Carolina and tempestuous employee of a parachute factory during World War II, captures the attention of many men throughout the film. Carmen sets her sights on young army officer Joe (Harry Belafonte) who is engaged to Cindy Lou (Olga James). After Carmen gets into a fight with another woman, she gets arrested and placed in Joe’s charge. Caving into Carmen’s attractiveness, Joe escorts her to her old neighborhood where, after killing a sergeant to retrieve him, he leaves the army. Fortune teller Frankie (Pearl Bailey) foresees a doomed future for Carmen and Joe. Then, the boxer, Husky Miller (Joe Adams) sweeps Carmen off her feet, which causes tragic consequences.

The film Carmen Jones and Bizet’s Carmen follow similar plots, but Oscar Hammerstein II heavily adapted the libretto for the opera from the original French for his Broadway production. The showing of Carmen Jones on the promenade at Stambaugh Auditorium will be a great way for patrons to prepare for Opera Western Reserve’s Carmen!