Rave reviews for local production of Bizet’s ‘Carmen’

Opera lovers got swept up by emotion in a drama of the seductress captivating the opera “Carmen.”

The Daytona Beach Symphony Society presents world-class productions, and without exception, “Carmen” won admiration Friday evening at the Peabody Auditorium. In the audience was a group of 32 patrons from Palm Coast and Ormond Beach.

Linda Epps coordinated the group to enjoy the beauty of live music at the opera. Georges Bizet’s incredible “Carmen” was presented by the Teatro Lirico D’Europa.

“Carmen’’ is performed by the Teatro Lirico D’Europa, a world-renowned opera touring company.

The music came alive with vibrancy from a 40-piece orchestra, fully staged. The time-honored “Habenera” and other musical excellence were performed in French with English subtitles.

“Carmen,” which is intermittently flirtatious, has themes of betrayal and murder. It featured Giorgio Lalov as the artistic director; Jason Tramm as conductor of the orchestra, and joined by passages with Stanislava Ivanova portraying Micaela; Benjamin Sloman as Don Jose; Zivko Penchev, Zuniga; and Galina Ivanikova as Carmen.

Excellent reviews
“We are having a wonderful time. It’s a great presentation,” said Dr. Betty Green. “We’ve seen it before, but this one is one of the best.”

“Carmen” brought to mind the first opera I had seen. “Aida,” performed by opera legend Leontyne Price, was presented at New York’s old Metropolitan Opera House back in the day. It was located at Broadway and 39th Street. A friend had urged my delight in seeing the artistry and dignity that Miss Price brings to the opera houses around the globe.

I’m so pleased and delighted to have so many of my friends here. It’s really wonderful, and I appreciate all of you being here,” said Guardine “Gerri” Wright-Gibson during the intermission. “And I think that each “Carmen” is different depending upon the production company. And this particular company is excellent.”

Wright-Gibson is the president of the Daytona Beach Symphony Guild, embarking upon the position in May 2016, and becoming the first African-American president of the guild. She also serves on the board of directors of the Daytona Beach Symphony Society.

Timeless classics of opera and other ensembles, traveling the globe, rely heavily on fundraising provided by Wright-Gibson and the Daytona Beach Symphony Guild. They give financial strength to the Daytona Beach Symphony Society. Folks are of the mindset that Daytona Beach has its own symphony orchestra, but it does not.

How to join
The Daytona Beach Symphony Society has provided 65 years of bringing the acclaim of artists, such as Van Cliburn, Itzhak Perlman, The Vienna Boys Choir, and dance and opera from around the world.

The experience and delight of seeing Bizet’s masterful “Carmen” were supported by the Daytona Beach Symphony Guild as the Grand Season Sponsor; the Loretta & Michael Kahn Foundation, as the Season Sponsor; Dr. & Mrs. Thurman Gillespy Jr., Concert Grand Presenters; the Orthopaedic Clinic of Daytona Beach and Dr. Michel C. Samson, Associate Sponsors; Carefree Catering and Total Wine & More, Hospitality Sponsors; and Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center, Ponce Inlet Women’s Club, and Subway as the Yes! Sponsors.

If you desire to become a member of the guild and enjoy its many perks, your $40 check also will provide for 2,500 school kids each year to see the performances at the Peabody without cost. Many of the students, 6 to 18 years old, are at risk, and at least 40 percent live below the poverty level.

Your $40 check can be endorsed to the Daytona Beach Symphony Guild, c/o Joan Fenton, Membership, P.O. Box 2, Daytona Beach, FL 32115.

And, be thrilled by the perks as a member – including the world-class productions.

Photographers sought for Centennial Celebration
The Centennial Committee for Flagler County’s 100th anniversary has invited amateur photographers to capture what Flagler County means to them.

“With everyone using high-resolution cell phone cameras, in addition to the amateur photographers in our community, we should end up with some really great entries to show as part of the Centennial Celebration,” Centennial Chairman Carl Laundrie said. “The theme of the photo contest is ‘What Flagler County Means to Me.’”

The Centennial Celebration is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., April 29, at the Flagler County Government Services Building, 1769 E. Moody Blvd., Bunnell.

A fun, run/walk for all ages and the start of a geocaching event will kick off the day’s events, which include the photo contest, a car show, music, tour of the Emergency Operations Center, food trucks, crafts and kids’ zone with free train rides.

The afternoon will feature historical re-enactments of the first County Commission and School Board meetings, a Henry Flagler re-enactor and a performance, “The Three Wives of Henry Flagler.”

April 10 deadline
Beginners to advanced photographers, 14 years old and up, are invited to participate. Photos will be judged on their overall quality, impact, composition, creativity, technical skill, and storytelling.

Pictures will be judged by age groups: 14 to 18 years old, and 19 years and older.

Prizes awarded include $200 for Best of Show, as well as first-, second-, and third-place prizes by divisions of $150, $100, and $50, respectively.

The submission deadline date is April 10.

For more information, go to www.facebook.com/flaglercountycentennial or contact the Centennial Committee at centennialcommittee@flaglercounty.org.

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As always, remember our prayers for the sick, afflicted and bereaved.

Celebrations
Birthday wishes to Shauntice Shephard, Feb. 25; Renata McCarthy, Feb. 26; Jasmyne D. Hendrix, Douglas Brown, Feb. 27; Jennie Timmons, Feb. 28; and Kristara Peddlar, March 1.

Happy anniversary to Roy and Gloria Benjamin, Feb. 25; Dr. Irving and Mrs. Christine Robinson, Feb. 28.

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