Cross gender Carmen provides new twist on classic opera

Melissa Sampson who plays Micaela in Carmen

Melissa Sampson who plays Micaela in Carmen - Credit: Archant

The North Norfolk Chamber Opera (NNCO) are presenting their vibrant staging of Bizet's Carmen at the Auden Theatre in Holt.

In this cross gender production women are taking on the role of some of the leading male characters with Sam Ellis performing the jealous and love-lorn Don Jose and Maggi Warren bombastic toreador Escamillo.

The audience can expect some fine singing from Lizzie Wilmott as Carmen, Melissa Sampson as Micaela, Katie Prentice as Frasquita and Sky Carver as Mercedes.

Musical director Susie Self said: 'In the world of opera there is a paucity of female roles in the general repertoire compared to the number of female singers coming out of college.

'But there are many precedents in opera for cross gender roles, Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro and The Witch, more recently, being played by a male in Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel to name just two.'

She added: 'For Maggi and Sam it has been a revelation to see how much their voices have developed and grown through these roles. For the performer it is both liberating and empowering to be able to step more objectively into a new gender. We hope you will find new insights into these male characters through this cross-over.'

Carmen takes place on April 14, 15 and 16 at 7.30pm. Tickets, £15, can be purchased online at or the box office on 01263 713444.

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Anyone interested in singing or back-stage roles for future productions should call 01263 761482.

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