Man’s Ruin

The word “scoundrel” doesn’t fully resonate until it’s shrieked, mid opera. You see, those professional Sopranos do more than hit high notes — they squeeze, twist, and drain every available drop of sentiment out of their insults. If we could all do that, rush hour would be terribly interesting. Some might even choose it as a source of recession entertainment.

In no other opera are the women as cunning, the men as willing, and the plot as scandalous as Carmen. An opera house staple, this play follows a gang of gypsies through Spain. Carmen herself is the group’s alpha-female — a hustler and manipulator of epic proportions. She convinces Don José, a sheltered soldier, to give up all he has — from true love, to loyalty to his country — to bask in her bewitching wiles. Once he’s demonstrated this pledge, he is no longer of any use to her, so Carmen dashes off after heart throb/seedy idol, Escamillo the bullfighter. (Spoiler Alert!) Believe it or not, that’s when things get ugly. The moral? It depends on your perspective, but Don’t Trust Tramps is certainly top of the list — although it’s seconded by Don’t Follow Your Penis to Greener Pastures. This opera is accompanied with English subtitles, so there’s no fear of looking like a neophyte. Catch the steamy seduction/destruction tonight only at the Kravis Center (701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach) during its 8 p.m. performance. Tickets range $25 to $70. Visit
Wed., Nov. 12, 2008

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Jamie Laughlin