St Carmen of the Main
St Carmen of the Main. 'Pop song fantasia' in two acts with a libretto by Lee Devin based on a play by Michel Tremblay, and music by Sydney Hodkinson. The work was commissioned by the Music Theatre Studio Ensemble of the Banff SFA (Banff CA). It was staged by Billie Bridgman under the musical direction of the composer and premiered during the Guelph Spring Festival in May 1988. The cast included the mezzo-sopranos Deborah Milsom (Carmen), Kimberly Barber (Harelip), Riki Turofsky (Gloria), and Kristine Anderson (Rose Beef), the tenors Barry Stilwell (Toothpick) and Michael Burgess (Sandra), and the bass Christopher Cameron (Maurice). The action takes place at the Rodeo Club, a shady bar located in a Montreal district, St-Laurent Boulevard, otherwise known as the 'Main'. Carmen, a country and western singer, comes back to sing after a trip to Nashville. She encounters vengeance, hatred, jealousy, and finally death, which underlines the culminating point of the work. The combination of a chamber orchestra and a group of country and western musicians was chosen for the accompaniment. The choruses are used as in a Greek tragedy. The reviews were greatly divided, but mainly reproached the organizers for having presented, as part of a serious and reputable festival, a work closely related to pop and country and western music, in which the action unfolds in the thick of lawlessness, featuring characters of the same ilk.