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Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves 

Carmen is all three

Don Jose is a soldier, and he loves with a fidelity and constancy that match his disciplined life; Carmen is a tempestuous Gypsy, and her love is a force of nature that waxes and wanes with the tides. Together they make a terrible couple — but this is opera, so the more complicated the relationship, the more glorious the music. Georges Bizet's Carmen is a matchless blend of passion and faith, which yields results not dissimilar to gasoline and matches. Lives are destroyed, lovers become murderers, proper morals receive several kicks in the teeth (that Carmen, she's a bit of a floozy) — and yet it's humanly impossible to leave the opera house not humming Bizet's famous "Toreador Song." Union Avenue Opera presents Carmen in its original French with English supertitles at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (August 22 through 30), with a matinee performance at 3 p.m. on Sunday, August 24, at the Union Avenue Christian Church (733 North Union Boulevard; 314-361-2881 or www.unionavenueopera.org). Tickets are $30 to $52.
Fridays, Saturdays; Sun., Aug. 24. Starts: Aug. 22. Continues through Aug. 30, 2008

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Speaking of Highlights, Georges Bizet

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