The opera Carmen came to the Canadian Badlands Saturday evening, August 4.

Opera Classica Europa brought the production to the Passion Play site on Drumheller's west end as part of a world tour.

"I do operas on historical sites throughout all of Europe; we've been in 12 European countries and I heard about the Badlands and came over here in May just to take a look at it," related the production's general manager, Michael Vaccaro. "The set itself is so awesome, that someone would build a replica of the city of Jerusalem in the middle of a desert, almost."

While he raved about the beauty of the Badlands Amphitheater, Vaccaro admitted outdoor productions like these can cause problems for the performers.

"In an opera house your orchestra is in front of, and the conductor is in front of the singers," he explained. "Here, we have to put the orchestra up on top, so the singers will have a hard time seeing the conductor, but because we've done so many open air performances we know how to compensate for that."

While the setting was distinctly Drumheller, the performers traveled here from all around the world.

"The orchestra came from Edmonton; we couldn't bring an orchestra from Europe," outlined Vaccaro. "The chorus members also came from Edmonton, most of the chorus members; and then the soloists came from Spain, from Denmark, from the Ukraine, from Switzerland; and some of the smaller roles came from Colorado."

While the Carmen cast returns to Europe, the Badlands Amphitheater is getting ready to welcome Ian Tyson and Corb Lund to the stage on August 25.


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