"But the orchestra's more immediate presence does not mean that the production will not have its own high concept. Stage director Kathleen Smith Belcher makes her debut in Denver with her first "Carmen." (She is the wife of baritone Daniel Belcher, whose performances in Denver and Central City last year were enthusiastically acclaimed.)While the action still is set in Spain, it is updated to the time of the Spanish Civil War."There is a lot of violence and brutality inherent in the story," Belcher said, "and I thought that there would be a heightened urgency of those elements in this setting."Thus, the soldier Don Jose, the jilted lover of the titular gypsy who eventually kills her, is in General Franco's army. When he runs away with Carmen to the gypsy camp, the gypsies are understood to be counter-revolutionaries.Belcher also frames the action in Don Jose's memory from prison after he is arrested for Carmen's murder (which is the last event in the original libretto), showing him there when the overture turns to his associated "fate" theme."
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