Carmen Union Avenue Opera's artistic director, Scott Schoonover, conducts this Georges Bizet favorite and gets a deliciously juicy sound out of his orchestra. He has also come up with young singers for Carmen's eight prime roles, and they shine in UAO's intimate space. As love-ravaged Don José and his innocent and determined wannabe bride, Micaela, Robert Zimmerman and Patricia Johnson deliver especially refined performances. It's a good thing, too, as director Jolly Stewart's awkward staging tones down to a faint glow the burning erotic charge that makes a great Carmen. But go for the singing — it's worth it. Performed August 29-30 at Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 North Union Boulevard. Tickets are $32 to $52 ($30 to $38 for students and seniors; $15 rush seats available for students 10 minutes before showtime). Call 314-361-2881 or visit www.unionavenueopera.org.
— Lew Prince