THE Russian State Opera is set to return to the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham “with two more spectacular productions of two of the greatest operas ever written”.

On offer will be Carmen by Georges Bizet and La Traviata by Verdi.

A spokesman said: “Featuring an impressive cast and accompanied by a large live orchestra with over 30 musicians, Russian State Opera is back with a powerful and dramatic production of Carmen.

“Feel the thrill and passion of love, jealousy and violence of 19th Century Seville in one of Bizet’s most popular pieces.”

Carmen tells the story of the downfall of Don José, a naïve soldier who is seduced by Carmen, a seductive, free-spirited femme fatale. José abandons his childhood sweetheart and deserts from his military duties, yet loses Carmen’s love to the glamorous toreador Escamillo.

The spokesman said: “The Toreador song is among the best known of all operatic arias.

“Love, treachery, passion and betrayal, Carmen has it all.”

La Traviata is one of Verdi’s greatest Operas.

The spokesman said of this production:

“La Traviata is a love story shrouded in sacrifice and misunderstanding.

“This haunting tragedy with its beautiful arias will transport you into the world of French society in the 1850s.”

The spokesman added: “Giuseppe Verdi brings the beguiling splendour and gaiety of mid-19th century Parisian life to the stage. But there is also heartbreak and pathos in this tragic and resonant morality tale in which Violetta, a high-society courtesan with a heart of gold, sacrifices everything for the man she loves.

“La Traviata is an undisputed masterpiece and contains some of Verdi’s most beautiful and memorable music. The score encompasses an astonishing range of moods and emotions.”

Carmen will be performed on Thursday, September 20, followed by La Traviata the next evening.

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