The French Embassy is proud to announce the staging of Fiji’s first Pacific opera from the 9th to the 11th of July at the Suva Civic Centre.
Domo ni Karmen or Karmen’s voice is a Pacific adaptation of Carmen the most beloved and played opera of all time. In this production musicians and artists have come together to showcase their talents. Domo ni Karmen is directed by renowned musical director Igeles Ete and local playwright and stage director Larry Thomas. Natasha Underwood takes on the role of Karmen with the assistance of dancer and choreographer Ateca Ravuvu.
Georges Bizet’s rich musicology is adapted in a Pacific feat with lali drums, bamboo nose flute, ukeleles and clapping in accord with more classical instruments to create original sounds from Bizet’s famous arias. Musicians from the New Caledonia Conservatoire will also be taking stage.
The original Carmen by French composer Georges Alexandre César Léopold Bizet was performed in Paris in 1875. Carmen is the story of a “femme fatale”, a stunning and manipulative woman who leads men astray by her beauty and dancing. She is a fatalist and a hedonist living entirely for the present moment.
In parallel, Fijian women are too often seen as introvert stifled by rules of men, tradition and religion. Like Carmen beyond their incredible strength and resilience lie passion, cheerfulness and desire.
Thus Domo ni Karmen aims to tell a Melanesian story with the action set in a traditional village. The characters are a representation of everyday life with the arrival of Karmen the city girl, who disrupts the established order of rural women in the village. Behind the Carmen story is the modern woman who strives for equal rights, freedom and acknowledgement in society.
The initiative of Domo ni Karmen was put together by the cooperative work of talents available in Fiji and the Pacific region. The invitation of musicians from New Caledonia is testament of France’s vision to promote cultural exchange and cooperation within the Pacific region.
This production is also a celebration of women and their contribution to life and to our society. We hope that this production will be an inspiration for self-worth and collective self-esteem for women. Youth issues and choices are also highlighted as they journey through life.
Finally we hope that this production will bring tolerance and hope as our humanity is revealed despite our differences of culture and problems in our society. The voice of Karmen in our fast changing society is a challenge to censoring from tradition, religion and racisms. It is also a voice for the protection of basic human rights and reconciliation through music and dance.