A Carmen to Remember

Hitting a high note in Spain

By: Devin Galaudet

SEVILLE, Spain Seville has long been known for its charming and romantic settings. So it is not surprising that the city has managed to capitalize on this backdrop during the First Seville International Music Festival.

Scheduled for Sept. 2-10, the event will feature music from around the world, including concerts by the Russian National Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, as well as flamenco shows. The highlight of the festival, however, will be a performance of Georges Bizet’s opera, “Carmen.”

Performed nightly, this production is the most ambitious version of “Carmen” ever. With a budget of about $26.5 million, the four acts will be performed at its original sites for the first time in over a hundred years. Visitors will be able to follow the roving performance around to city landmarks the fourth act will be staged at the Plaza de Toros de la Maesranza (a bullfighting arena).

Producer Michael Ecker, best known for using the Forbidden City in Beijing for a production of Puccini’s “Turandot” in 1998, will again use actual city sites. Buses and horse drawn carriages will transport audience members between acts, but people will also be given ample time for strolling through Seville’s promenades.

For the travel professional, the Seville International Music Festival has organized a variety of one- to three-day travel packages ranging from one- to five-star accommodations. Agents receive 10 to 18 percent commissions depending on specific packages booked. (Packages start at about $595 per person.)

With 122 operas set in Seville, the Seville International Music Festival may provide commission opportunities for years to come. Future headliners include “Fidelio” in 2005 and “Don Giovanni” in 2006. Tickets are on sale now.

For More Information

First Seville International Music Festival 2004

34-954-50-66-10; www.carmeninsevilla.com or www.sevillafestival.org

E-mail: englishdepartment@sif2004.com or reservations@sevillafestival.org

Tourist Office of Spain, in Los Angeles: 323-658-7188; www.tourspain.es