review

Review: Gritty 'Carmen' takes center stage in mill ruins

Review: Gritty 'Carmen' takes center stage in mill ruins

Nothing in the U.S. opera world compares to what the Mill City Summer Opera presents: Professional opera outdoors, center city, in the atmospheric ruins of a historic stone building on the Mississippi riverfront.

The 7-year-old company is back this week with Bizet’s lyric tragedy “Carmen,” which is perfectly suited for the open-air courtyard of what’s now the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis, close by the waterfalls that turned the turbines that turned the city into the nation’s flour-milling capital 150 years ago.

Review: Mill City Summer Opera’s ‘Carmen’ seduces, sizzles and stomps

Review: Mill City Summer Opera’s ‘Carmen’ seduces, sizzles and stomps

Things can get steamy in Seville. In summer, that city in southern Spain sizzles, with daytime temps regularly hitting the 90s. So this weekend’s Twin Cities weather did its part in setting the scene for an outdoor production of “Carmen,” Georges Bizet’s opera about passions and tempers coming to a boil in Seville.

Why all the 'Carmen' productions? The story behind opera's sexiest blockbuster

Why all the 'Carmen' productions? The story behind opera's sexiest blockbuster

The opera’s subject matter was certainly scandalous — Carmen, a sexually liberated 19th-century gypsy woman, rejects her obsessive lover Don José, who eventually murders her in a fit of jealousy. But Bizet was confident this delicate material could be handled with care, forging a successful musical drama. “I know what I am doing,” he said, with great confidence, as he started the composition.