Love, treachery, obsession and betrayal – Bizet’s passionate opera has it all…

For the first time in its history, on March 12 the Ukrainian National Opera is coming to Tunbridge Wells as part of a UK-wide tour, with the premiere of Bizet’s spectacular opera, Carmen. Here, its producer Alexej Ignatow tells Eileen Leahy what audiences can expect from this terrific show…


Alexej Ignatow is the director of production company Amande Concerts, which looks after the Ukranian National Opera when it is touring in England.

Next month, on March 12, the talented troupe are coming to the Assembly Hall to stage a performance of Bizet’s classic opera Carmen – and Alexej wants Times readers to be in the audience…

“If you’ve never tried opera before you will love the full orchestra experience with brand new settings and fantastic costumes, along with exquisite singing and wonderful tunes that you will be humming to yourself all the way home,” he says.

“Our version of Bizet’s Carmen will help you feel the thrill of love, jealousy and violence of 19th-century Seville,” he explains.

“It’s a mix of fierce passion, gorgeous melodies, nail-biting dramatic confrontation and musical wit which has found favour all over the world since its first performance in 1875.”

Alexej also adds that it doesn’t matter if you can’t understand Spanish, because although the opera will be sung in the original language, there will be English subtitles for audience members to read on stage.

The Ukrainian National Opera’s version of Carmen is part of a national tour which kicks off in Billingham on February 9 and tours around the country until April 5, when its run ends in Darlington. Along the way it will also take in venues in places such as Shrewsbury, Crewe and Eastbourne, before coming to Tunbridge Wells on March 12.

“We are thrilled that for the first time ever, the Ukrainian National Opera is touring the UK,” says Alexej.

“Coming all the way from Dnipro, Ukraine, this opera company features an impressive cast and will be accompanied by a large live orchestra comprising over thirty musicians, when it premieres the passionate Carmen opera this season.”

Amande Concerts Ltd, is a UK-established production company dedicated to delivering the highest quality classical art to British theatres.

“We have presented many ballets as well as operas including Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote. The operas we have performed in addition to Carmen include La Traviata, Madame Butterfly, La bohème, Rigoletto and many more,” says Alexej.

He further explains that Carmen is a ‘fantastic’ piece to perform courtesy of its central themes of love, treachery, obsession and betrayal.

“These make Carmen a most dramatic, fantastic and passionate opera and one that audiences, even those who are not familiar with seeing opera live, will greatly enjoy.”

He adds that over the past few years The Ukrainian Opera has worked very hard to improve its overall performance of the arts, despite the ongoing war.

“We are really excited to be presenting this opera company to UK audiences in these difficult times,” states Alexej.

“The journey has been extremely challenging, but I am glad we have overcome the many extraordinary obstacles and have now received all the necessary visas and clearances for the Ukrainian artists.

“The cast has been rehearsing vigorously over the last five weeks, and will continue to do so until the very moment when they will be leaving for the UK. We in the production office are now fully-focused on marketing these operas and raising awareness. We hope to see you very soon at one of our venues!”


Carmen will be performed at the Assembly Hall on March 12 at 7.30pm. Tickets start from £36.90. For more information, visit:

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