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April 25: one of the all-time coolest opera events!

As a way of gearing up for the showing of the award-winning film, "U-Carmen eKhayelitsha," Indianapolis Opera, the Indianapolis International Film Festival, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art are teaming up for a very special evening of music and discussion.

When: Tuesday April 25 7:00 PM

Where: Indianapolis Museum of Art

Even though it's barely a year old, "U-Carmen eKhayelitsha" is being called one of the greatest opera films ever. I think it's more than that. The film sets Bizet's timeless opera "Carmen" in a contemporary South African township, and translates the opera from French into Xhosa (South African click language that to my unsophisticated American ears has alway made me think of "Star Wars.") OK, just by itself the fact that "U-Carmen eKhayelitsha" is showing at the Indianapolis International Film Festival is splendid news. But don't start celebrating yet, there's more. The experience of the film will be greatly enhanced, it seems, if we know more about Bizet's original opera. And it would be very good to know more about Xhosa, and maybe about what traditional music in that language sounds like. And South Africa, it would sure help to know about what life in the townships is really like. Especially the position of women in South African townships, "Carmen" is about one of the all-time memorable female characters in Western art, Carmen is a dangerous and intriguing mixture of predator and prey, a product of the savage poverty of Europe in 1875. Would poor South Africans today recognize the world of the poor lawbreakers of Europe a century and a half ago?

April 25, the day before the International Film Festival kicks off, we will explore these and other important questions. At the Indianapolis Museum of Art we will be joined by:
  • Members of the Indianapolis Opera who will perform some of the best selections from "Carmen" in French and English
  • South African folksingers who will sing examples of songs in Xhosa
  • Some of my friends who have worked in South African townships on the difficult issues facing women
Well, IndyBuzz is buzzing around the office about this one. For some background to this event, check out The Next Indy. More info to come soon.

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