Georges Bizet

Marie-Nicole Lemieux's first time as the cigarette-maker, a firebrand part we know she will throw herself into with gusto

Opéra chanté en français, surtitré en français

Carmen is one of the most frequently performed operas in the world, despite a mixed reception on its first performance at the Opéra-Comique in 1875. Today it enjoys "cult" status: everyone knows the melodies, and the orchestral score is superbly expressive and colourful, whether in the crowd scenes or the more intimate pieces. Carmen's part sits astride two standard tessituras, calling for both a mezzo-soprano and a dramatic soprano. Marie-Nicole Lemieux is a superb musician whose voice is naturally rich in harmonics. She can sing the part of Isabella in The Italian Girl in Algiers, sing a more furioso Orlando than anyone else, or an irresistible Mrs Quickly. A true wide-ambitus contralto and a vocal tornado, whose enjoyment and sense of mischief is also supremely infectious.

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