Center for the Humanities to explore ‘The Many Faces of Carmen’ Jan. 30-31

Carmen is perhaps the ultimate femme fatale, a beautiful yet unfaithful Gypsy who maddens her Spanish lover, with tragic results.

Though known largely through Georges Bizet’s 1875 opera — reputedly the most popular ever staged — Carmen’s story actually debuted 30 years earlier, in the 1845 novella by French dramatist Prosper Mérimée. What’s more, the character has continued to inspire new re-workings in a wide range of media, from ballet and theater to films such as Carmen Jones (1954) — Otto Preminger’s Southern retelling, which features an African-American cast — and Carmen: A Hip Hopera (2001), a modern version directed by Robert Townsend.

On Jan. 30-31, the Center for the Humanities in Arts & Sciences will present a symposium on “The Many Faces of Carmen” as part of its 2004-05 Translation Series, an ongoing program of lectures that explores the fundamental cultural importance of the act of translation from a variety of perspectives.

The event — co-sponsored by the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences — will include screenings of Carmen Jones and Carmen: A Hop Hopera, as well as a panel discussion with specialists in literature, theater, music and film.

Screenings will take place from 1-5 p.m. Jan. 30 in the Music Classroom Building, Room 102.

The panel discussion will take place from 7:30-9 p.m. Jan. 31 in the Arts & Sciences Laboratory Science Building, Room 300. Participants will include Dan Friedman, dramaturge at the Castillo Theatre in New York City; Evelyn Gould, professor of Romance languages at the University of Oregon; Dolores Pesce, WUSTL professor of music; and Jeff Smith, director of Film & Media Studies in Arts & Sciences.

All events are free and open to the public, with receptions to follow. For more information, call 935-5576.