”The vibe is about as far from solemn night-at-the-opera formality as you can get.”
"I’d urge you to accept their open-armed invitation, because both productions, which will run in repertory at the Cutler Majestic through Nov. 22, bring the stage exuberantly to life.”
“The prelude to “Carmen’’ has never sounded better.”
"Isango Ensemble can make the material seem fresh by transposing the much-told tale into an illuminating new context and tackling it with such vigor"
“…journeys worth taking. Chances are that when the members of the Isango Ensemble take their bows at the end, you’ll be smiling back at them.”
“It’s all marimbas all the time, and it’s marvelous”
“The physical comedy, especially when the quartet of confused lovers forms a human tangle that seems it may never be unknotted, will amuse both young and old.”
“Powerful stuff, fiercely rooted in the seductive and ebullient emotionality of Bizet’s gorgeous, familiar music.”
“[Carmen] is not so much femme fatale as sexily confident earth mother”
“It’s hard to think Bizet and Britten would not be impressed.”
"This is the pinnacle of both 'community' and ensemble theater."
"The talent here radiates from every corner of the stage."
"This is everything you want out of 'Midsummer.'"
"Carmen herself is captivating to watch. She maintains the perfect blend of sexiness, toughness, and humor. She commands the stage throughout."
"A lively integration of Bizet’s opera"
"The cast of uCarmen rises to the occassion with those great recognizable themes, and the marimbas, which play throughout"
“A warm, bright tapestry of color and sound.”
“Isango’s recasting of the narrative in a South African setting works splendidly…The power of the story, told through song, gesture, dance and marimba accompaniment, brings the tragedy to life.”
“You simply cannot take your eyes off [Pauline Malefane]”
“A breath of fresh air”
“Slip into the world of these immensely talented performers and hang on for the ride.”
“…in awe of how deftly these performers manage their multiple roles with grace and poise.”
“The Holy Grail of Shakes-opera.”
"reimagines the opera as an African folk tale in a township setting rich with magic, exuberance and confusion."
"...choral odes and dances from South African traditions are folded in; vocal lines are sung mostly in English but also in Zulu, Xhosa and Tswana; the orchestra is turned into a mesmerizing ensemble of marimbas, drums and percussion..."
"I bet that Britten, who was fascinated by music of other cultures, would have loved this production."
"startling theatrical and musical vibrancy"
"unique and arresting reinterpretation of Bizet's opera"
"extraordinarily thrilling ensemble of singers/dancers/marimba players like no other."
"This is a community sharing their joy and creative expression, as lively and authentic as a Balinese village’s gamelan orchestra where everyone takes part"
"The orchestrations are delicious, allowing us to revel in a rediscovery of Bizet."
"delivers its theatrical roots steeped in community."
"Opera’s great femme fatale becomes a woman in search of freedom in the hands of South Africa’s Isango Ensemble"
"Magic, mischief and music collide to mesmerizing effect"
"Isango Ensemble lift up their voices to weave African folklore into Shakespeare's most celebrated comedy"
"Exhilarating orchestrations of marimbas, djembes and ululation resound with South Africa's rich choral traditions when Britten's composition is reinvigorated with rousing percussive rhythms"
“Bizet's music, translated into Xhosa, mixed with traditional song and recorded by a dynamic orchestra of young South Africans, makes [uCarmen] an extraordinary synthesis of Xhosa culture and European opera.”
“Notable for both the energy of the staging and the extraordinary natural power of the singing…”
THE NEW BLACK MAGAZINE
“Whilst Pauline Malefane is outstanding in the lead role, the performances of the ensemble also bring passion, commitment and zest to the movie. The people and vibrant life of the township provide a faithful but fresh backdrop for the rhythms and melodies that make Carmen so popular…This production, which accurately portrays township life, is also true to Bizet’s original and will satisfy traditionalists. The energy and heat of Khayelitsha is a fresh setting for this classic story of love and obsession…uCarmen is a skillful introduction to opera and picture of the life of South Africa’s townships.”
THE WASHINGTON POST
"Isango is a troupe with an exhilarating ethos that highlights vocal prowess, physical panache and passion for lyrical transpositions of the classics."
WASHINGTON CITY PAPER
“Its multi-talented cast, drawn from Cape Town’s surrounding townships, has toured the world, and its productions have sold out theaters in Paris and London, reinterpreting classical European operas and plays through a uniquely South African lens...”
“…the impact of hearing full operatic voices singing the familiar score, but in ways that defy all previous conceptions, cloaked in South African traditions. The tonalities sway between traditional European and African styles as much as the bodies move to the unmistakable rhythms steeped in Cape Town…It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the voices are electrifying—each one strikes a gorgeous tone and balance for pure loveliness…The award winning Isango Ensemble shows the true universality of the message and the music…”
- Location: Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre
- Ages: All Ages
Run Time uCarmen:
1 hour 40 min with one 20 min intermission
Run Time A Midsummer Night's Dream:
1 hour 33 min with one 20 min intermission
- Performed in English without surtitles
- Welcome to Boston Cast Party: Mon, Nov. 9th
- ArtsEmerson presents an Isango Ensemble - Opera Comique, Paris Production of A Midsummer Night's Dream and uCarmen with special thanks to South African Airways.
Isango US Tour Partner