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January 28, 2010

Denyce Graves leaves Opera New Jersey 'Carmen' production heading to Baltimore

For heatlh reasons, Denyce Graves, the popular mezzo-soprano long associated with the title role in Bizet's "Carmen," has bowed out of an Opera New Jersey production of that work, a little more than a week before it was due to open. 

After performances in three New Jersey locations, the production heads to Baltimore, where it will be presented at, and by, the Lyric Opera House on Feb. 14.

Replacing Graves in New Jersey and Baltimore will be Kirstin Chávez (left), who has sung Carmen with the New York City Opera and elsewhere.

In a statement released by Opera New Jersey, Graves says: "I am deeply disappointed ... I arrived in New Jersey on the tail end of a bronchial virus and rehearsed with my colleagues in anticipation of a wonderful run of performances. Frustratingly, the bronchial virus got worse over the past week, and my physicians have recommended that I come out of the production in order for my body to recover completely."




Posted by Tim Smith at 10:17 PM | | Comments (7)


Kirstin Chavez is a great Carmen. Both the New Jersey and Baltimore audiences will love her.

Thanks for the strong vote of confidence. TIM

I saw Kirstin Chavez's Carmen when she sang it with Teatro Lirico d'Europa in Newark. She is an excellent Carmen. She can sing it and she embodies the fascinating gypsy. Both New Jersey and Baltimore will love her.

This is not the first time Opera New Jersey has announced BIG NAME singers only to have them cancel out at the last minute. The same thing happened last February with their FLEDERMAUS. Ruth Anne Swenson and the big name conductor canceled out at the last it was reported that low ticket sales were the real reason...................

Hmmmmmmm. Tell us more. TIM

It is a shame that Ms. Graves had to bow out becasue of sickness, but the audiences will be more than please with Ms. Chaves. I saw her (and was a super) in 2001 in KY Opera's Carmen and she was Fantastic. One of the best Carmen's out there.

Un remarquable choix que de confier ce rôle mythique de Carmen à Kirstin Chavez. Pour l'avoir entendue en Europe ainsi qu'à Sydney, Kirstin Chavez incarne parfaitement le personnage. Sa très belle diction, le timbre de sa voix et une présence scénique incroyable sont autants de gages d'une mise en oeuvre des plus remarquables du chef d'oeuvre de Bizet. Merci à Kirstin Chavez de traduire si fidèlement l'esprit français. Du grand art tout simplement!

Merci beaucoup TIM.

The choice of a third CARMEN production after The met, and LaScala, seesm to have been a poor repertory choice as well.

Three Carmen's in a row is really a bit too much...and NJPAC w/a setless semi-staged production only made matters even more un- interesting. How about Bizet's Dr. Miracle instead ? That would have been a miracle all by itself, a boost to the repertoire, and a probable sellout as well.

I'm searching for Carmen Opera notes(for Piano,Violin and singing),Would you introduce me a site to find it,please?
Best regards

I'm not sure what you mean by 'notes.' If you are looking for the actual music, you might find what you need at this site: TS

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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