Carmen, by Georges Bizet, is one of those perfect operas: There’s a voluptuous gypsy, a fiery suitor, and even a bullfighter. Playful banter leads to a love triangle, and obsession leads to death. Even if you know nothing about Carmen, you have certainly heard its most famous aria, “Habanera,” one of the most recognizable pieces of music in the Western canon. The finale is devastating, and all the more shocking in the “Me Too” era. But the music elevates this tragedy into something transcendent.
Who would have guessed that Carmen could be adapted into ballet? When Viktor Plotnikov was given this task in 2003, there was no telling how the project would turn out. Opera rests on music, ballet on movement, and translating the four-act, 144-year-old classic into dance was no simple task. What’s more, Carmen was Plotnikov’s first full-length choreography, a grand commission by the Festival Ballet Providence. So how did it turn out? Very well. Nearly two decades later, Plotnikov’s work remains as powerful as ever, and dance enthusiasts will relish this two-weekend revival in the FBP black box. Revisit the story of Carmen and Don José, their contentious relationship, and their fateful encounter outside the Seville amphitheatre. November 1-10, 825 Hope Street
One of the smartest podcasts in Rhode Island is Reading with Robin, hosted by local novelist and educator Robin Kall. These interviews started as a radio talk show, way back in 2002, then metamorphosed into streaming episodes with recurring live events. Robin tackles an astonishing range of authors, making their work and backstories accessible to dedicated listeners. This month’s guest is superstar author Mitch Albom, who will talk largely about his forthcoming book, Finding Chika. If you love literature but haven’t yet listened to Reading with Robin, this event at Temple Beth El is a great occasion to start. November 21, 70 Orchard Avenue
Many people know him as the Spanish sword fighter in The Princess Bride. Others know him as the weathered spy Saul in Homecoming. But to his fans, Mandy Patinkin is best known as a Broadway legend, creating roles with Stephen Sondheim and producing album after album of favorite ballads. To celebrate his latest recordings, DIARIES, Patinkin makes a concert appearance at The Vets, presenting a staggering range of old standards and modern classics, sung in his distinctive falsetto. November 1, 1 Avenue of the Arts