Carmen Cubana - A Latin Pop Opera

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Carmen Cubana is a musical by Kim Duddy (book and lyrics), Martin Gellner and Werner Stranka (music and lyrics). It is based on the novel Carmen by Prosper Mérimée and the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet . The world premiere took place on July 19, 2006 in Amstetten, Austria.



Santiago de Cuba in August 1994, the traditional 'Festival of Fire' rages in the streets of the city / FIESTA DEL FUEGO. Lilas Pastia, bar owner and 'godfather' of Santiago, takes care of everyone's wellbeing. Carmen takes the stage with her friends Mercedes and Francesca - it's the biggest event of the year.

A short time later on the coast of Cuba. While the fiesta is still in full swing, Carmen, her cousin Carlos, Tito, Juan and Pepe Cuba want to flee to America by boat. Lilas knows that Carmen can only fulfill her dream of a singing career in America and she organized the escape perfectly. The small group takes an emotional farewell to their loved ones and board the self-made boat in the hope of a better future / BE THIS WAY.

The trip is short - the boat cannot withstand the waves. Carmen almost drowns and Tito is seriously injured. The American Coast Guard picks up the refugees and brings them to the American naval base in Guantanamo Bay / THE LAUNCH.

Two months later. The refugees have settled in the camp. Homeless in their own country, between the worlds / BACK TO CUBA. While the soldiers are working on expanding the refugee camp, Carmen tries to get Joe's attention. She provokes him and entertains her compatriots. He irritates her all the more because he doesn't react to her attempts at seduction. She throws him a rose, which he picks up unnoticed by the others ... / HABANERA.

Joe is encouraged by his soldier buddies to accept Carmen's seductive offer, but he has already planned his future: marrying his childhood sweetheart, pilot training and a regular life / LENA

While she is showering, Carmen is provoked by Alicia, another Cuban woman. Carmen initially tries to calm the situation down, but Alicia names her as a whore, which escalates the situation. Patrolling soldiers separate the women fighting. Carmen has bitten her rival on the cheek and is taken to Sergeant Cooper's office by Joe. Again she tries to charm him so that he will help her escape.

Carmen is interrogated by Sergeant Cooper. Joe is also hit hard when he weakens the situation in Carmen's favor. When Cooper and Carmen are alone, it turns out that they share a past. The sergeant offers her a definite deal that Carmen proudly rejects.

Carmen sits in the waiting room while Joe keeps watch in front of the door. He knows nothing about this woman who throws him into total confusion / WHO IS SHE. Carmen calls for Joe, he enters the waiting room, releases their handcuffs and they succumb to each other / THE SEDUCTION.

During the shift change, Joe smuggles Carmen out of the base. She can still tell him to come to Lila's Pastia's bar. Joe is arrested. Carmen has dug into his heart like a thorn. Joe realizes, desperate and passionate at the same time, the love for this woman who has changed his orderly life in such unexpected ways / THE ROSE SONG.

A month has passed. At Lilas Pastia the devil is once again going on and his guests lack nothing, they dance, drink, smoke / LILAS PASTIA'S. Carmen's escape was successful, she works in the bar again and Mercedes and Francesca tell her about the plan to go on tour with Escamillo, a famous Cuban pop singer, as background singers. Carmen doesn't want to leave. She's waiting for Joe.

Sergeant Cooper is not only a good patron at Lilas' bar, he is also involved in illegal business with him. Because of his intrusive behavior, Carmen finds it difficult to be nice to him. Just as Cooper tells her about Joe's release from prison, Escamillo, his manager Rum and Morales enter the bar. Enthusiasm breaks out. Escamillo makes a small appearance and ensnares Carmen throughout the song / BE MY LADY. He invites her to join him on his tour of Cuba. She lets him flash off ice cold . Rum, Mercedes and Francesca want to convince Carmen and describe in colorful pictures the crowds in front of whom she will appear and how she will be celebrated as a famous singer in Havana - and maybe even in the USA - / AWAY.

Carmen's thoughts are with Joe. She chose this love and would do everything the same way again / IF I HAD TO DO IT ALL AGAIN.

The bar is empty when suddenly Joe appears. Both are overwhelmed by the reunion. Joe can't stay long, but she won't let him go. Sergeant Cooper bursts into an intimate moment for the two of them. Cooper provokes Joe's jealousy, and a fight ensues in which Sergeant Cooper is killed. Lilas immediately takes on 'the problem' and organizes Carmen's and Joe's escape.


In the three weeks since the incident in the bar, Joe and Carmen have moved from Santiago de Cuba to Havana and live in a small apartment called 'Lila's Love Nest'. Carmen grew up here. He took her on after she stole his watch as a little girl. Carmen hides Joe where she's going in her sexy dress and leaves him behind. Your goal is Escamillo's concert. She is led to rum in the VIP area. Carmen is impressed by Escamillo's performance and he only has eyes for her / TE QUIERO. Rum and Carmen then talk about the 'business': She should accompany Escamillo to all press conferences and receptions and also spend time with him privately.

Lilas, Mercedes, Francesca and some friends come to Lilas' apartment after the concert. Joe is surprised. Since he knew nothing about the concert, the enthusiastic stories of the friends offend him completely. Lilas tries to calm down. When Carmen comes home, the opposites of the two worlds collide. She tries to find a way out ... / IF I HAD TO DO IT ALL AGAIN Reprise. A small party is going on in the next room / AZUCAR. The women play tarot until it is Carmen's turn. With every card she reveals, her future path is predicted. There is no way out, for them the cards are decisive. She knows what to do and leaves the house / FATE.

Carmen arrives at Escamillo's hotel and wants to go straight to him. His manager Rum stops her to put herself in the limelight and then hold the room key in front of her nose / NOTHING IS FOR FREE. Shortly after Carmen left for Escamillo's room, Joe appears in the lobby and is sneakily forwarded by rum. Joe bursts right into the embrace of the two. A confrontation ensues, at the end of which Carmen and Escamillo leave the room / TOO LATE FOR LOVE.

The fate of all is determined, luck can turn, hearts are entwined and time will bring the final chapter. Love fights with fate / GREEK CHORUS

Carmen is introduced to the press by Escamillo and she has a great first TV appearance as a solo singer / GOOD GOOD LOVIN. Joe tries to get to Carmen, he's been wandering around for the last two days and nights and is destroyed inside. His life has slipped away from him and his love for her won't let go / SAD SONG.

The first joint concert by Escamillo and Carmen takes place in Havana. The atmosphere is fantastic and they both look like the new 'dream team' of pop business / IT'S MY LIFE. Joe watches the performance from the audience and fights his way backstage.

The last major debate will take place. On the basis of the maps, Carmen knows where she should and will go. Joe tries to convince her to come with him, leave everything behind and become his wife. She brutally pushes him away. While they are kissing and he is confessing his love to her, he suddenly has a knife in his hand / FINALE.

Joe holds Carmen in his arms and they are closer than they ever were / EPILOGUE.

Original production creative team

  • Direction and choreography - Kim Duddy
  • Musical direction - Martin Gellner , Werner Stranka / BEAT 4 FEET
  • Stage - Walter Vogelweider
  • Costumes - Robert Schwaighofer
  • Lighting design - Andrew Voller
  • Sound design - Andreas Frei
  • Make up and hair - Alexandra Steininger
  • Producer - Johann Kropfreiter


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