Edinburgh opera group Aria Alba will be staging a production of Bizet’s Carmen (1875) in 2024, with performances at Melrose Corn Exchange and as part of the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2024.
The company is calling on all aspiring singers to join this new production. Formed in 2011 with the aim of widening participation in opera, the company welcomes singers of all abilities.
Bizet’s Carmen tells the story of a soldier named Don José who falls in love with the charismatic and beautiful Carmen. However, she leaves him for the exciting toreador Escamillo. Their rollercoaster relationship leads to jealousy and violence, resulting in a tragic ending. Aria Alba’s production is directed by Jake Zualski and accompanied by Max McWhirter.
“Carmen is the perfect place to start if you have no experience of opera, since it’s one of the most famous operas ever written,” Aria Alba said in a statement. “Even if you have never listened to opera before, chances are you’re already familiar with some of its unforgettable tunes, like Carmen’s flirtatious Habanera, or the flamboyant Toreador Song.”
The company is looking for chorus members, soloists and production team members. The last is open to anyone with an interest in lighting, costumes, set design and building, stage management, prop management, ticket sales and ushering, selling refreshments during intervals, or administrative tasks.
In keeping with the company’s ethos that opera is for everyone, chorus members do not require previous singing experience. The company doesn’t hold auditions, all interested singers are welcomed.
Performers also have the opportunity to sing solo roles. You might be a music student looking for a first lead role, an experienced amateur who wants to develop, or a music lover wanting to try out something new. Members will receive vocal coaching to develop their voice and theatre skills.
Every year Aria Alba rehearses and stages a full-scale opera at Melrose Corn Exchange and as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Rehearsals take place weekly on Monday evenings from 7pm-9.30pm in the Beith Hall at St Ninian’s Church, Corstorphine. The first rehearsal for Carmen will be today, 20 November.
The company also has an annual residency at the coastal village of Ardentinny, singing opera everyday in preparation for the upcoming shows. This optional event will take place in July 2024, prior to the Melrose Corn Exchange performances in August 2024.
This is followed by dress and technical rehearsals for the Edinburgh Fringe shows, which take place later in August 2024.
A Scottish charity and community company, Aria Alba is entirely run by volunteers. The company has to charge rehearsal fees in order to continue operating; however, all new singers are offered a free trial period when first joining. This way, potential members can get a taste of what it’s like before making any commitments.
The company encourages everyone with a love of music to get involved, saying: “We are a close-knit community of enthusiastic singers that welcomes members of all abilities. It’s our mission to prove that opera really is for everyone, and that it can be a lot of fun!”
Edinburgh-based opera company Aria Alba is looking for new members for its 2024 production of Carmen – all interested singers are encouraged to get in touch.