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Carmen London

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(The Choice of Don José)


Type For In Time Topics Dates Available to Ages Booking
INSET Teachers tbd 2hrs Singing
(Spanish and
Feb - July
Intearactive presentation Whole school School Hall 60 mins
Workshop Class-sized gropus School 4x2hrs
Performance Class sized groups+parents tbd 1 day


A singing project for Spring/Summer 2011 in 4 steps with:


"Carmen at the Royal Albert Hall] was a complete triumph! Once again you were all totally inspirational both at rehearsals, in workshops and at the performance. Working with you at Music Platform has been a wonderful experience and a real privilege. On behalf of everyone in Camden please accept our heartfelt thanks!"

Head of Music Service, London Borough of Camden

Project Outline

Step 1:

Feb 2011

An introduction to the project for all teachers, music coordinators and anyone involved in project. The INSET will  include introductions to: key workshop leaders and personnel; interactive presentations in schools and the performances of Carmen; The Choice of Don José – EPOC’s particular take on the opera; project resources and tips on how to use them (Resource Pack, CD’s, music etc);  introduction and practical advise on how to use Sing Up and Sing Op; and a practical introduction to the music (Carmen the opera, Children’s Choruses – including a sing through of all materials, additional solo spot music).

Step 2:

Interactive Presentation - Carmen Opera Blocks.
April/May 2011 in schools

Developed over 10 years, Music Platform’s interactive presentations offer a uniquely stimulating opportunity for whole schools to have a practical taster of the warm ups, exercises and the music of Carmen. Lasting 1hr and performed by two professional singers and a pianist, they are available to every participating school, one per school, between the above dates and can be watched by up to 200 children. It is in three parts: an introduction to the building blocks of opera; a ‘pocket’ sing-a-long Carmen with children as the main characters; and a brand new 15-minute opera improvised on suggestions from the audience.

Step 3:

Learning the songs.
Weeks commencing June 2011

Four half-day sessions with EPOC workshop leaders who will help children to prepare their performances as part of Step 4 of the project. Each school will prepare five audience choruses from Carmen plus a featured ‘solo spot’ with music of their choice for each school.

Step 4:

Performance and final rehearsal.
West Road Concert Hall, July 2011

A semi-staged performance of Carmen: the choice of José featuring choirs from all participating schools alongside: 4 professional EPOC soloists; and narrator. Performing materials to include: scenes from Carmen; songs and choruses for everyone to sing-a-long with (incl the audience); ‘solo spot’ songs about Spain (often sung in Spanish or French); and ‘A’ level compositions by local students.


A singing project based on Bizet’s Carmen to be made available to local state primary and secondary schools designed to:

  • introduce children and young people to opera;
  • promote relationships between secondary schools and their feeder primary schools;
  • encourage singing and music making - both in, and between, local schools;
  • celebrate and showcase the musical talents of local children.


One of the particular strengths of EPOC’s Carmen is its flexibility. Backed up with a wealth of educational resources, it has been presented in a number of ways to suit partners needs: no two projects have ever been the same. The table below demonstrates outlines of previous projects and just some of the possibilities available in Cambridge.


Date Prinicpal
EPOC and ?
Participants Performance venue/s Project contents included:
2010 Barnet Music Services 35 Barnet Primary and Secondary Schools

Music Centre instrumental students

Music A level students

Dance A level students

Royal Albert Hall

35 Barnet Schools

3 Music Centres (Brass, woodwind, string)

A level compositions included in final performance.

A level student dancers and choreography

Narration by Radio 3's Ian Skelly

2010 Camden Music Services 41 Camden Primary and all Secondary schools

Camden Youth Symphony Orchestra

Royal Albert Hall

Camden Centre

Cluster performances and rehearsals with groups of 10-12 schools

Kings Cross EAZ

6 primary and 1 secondary school

Royal College of Music Junior Orchestra

In all six schools - simultaneously
broadcast on multi screens to each
other and on web. (see Espresso website)
Opera Blocks. Music, Art and drama workshops in school
2010 St. Pancras Station 2 primary schools St Pancras Station Pocket perfs of Carmen using members of public
2010 Somerset Music Service Somerset Youth Choirs Somerset Primary School Opera Blocks, Singing workshop plus devised version of Carmen
2003 Bermuda Festival Adult and Children's Community Choir and orchestra Bermuda  
2010 L'ile aux enfants school, Kilburn 8 x classes from school (rec - yr6) Bloomsbury Theatre Bilingual performance
2010 5 Primary schools Choirs and classes from 5 schools from Islington and Tower Hamlets Union Chapel. Islington Trilingual performance (English, French and Spanish) and additional songs from Sing Up


EPOC has a long association with Carmen - going back to 2003 when it was performed by the company in a variety of formats - including the one that many schools know from its inclusion on the Espresso website . In 2010 we have used Carmen as the basis for a singing project which has been seen and performed by over 80 schools.



"A day to remember …. It was education at its best.."

 Headteacher, Barnet Primary School Jan 2010 

  "The feedback from staff and children alike was glowing." 

Leader of Extended Schools and Creativity, Hackney School, Feb 2010

"We were blown away!! Fabulous singing and the whole thing was so entertaining. The boys absolutely loved it. "

Music Coordinator, Boys Secondary School, Barnet, Feb 2010

"The whole concept from the beginning was exactly right and brilliant: Congratulations to everyone"

Curriculum Adviser for Teaching and Learning (Music), London Borough of Barnet

"We had the Carmen performance yesterday at school and both the children and staff absolutely loved it, it was fantastic!"

Class teacher, Drayton Park Primary School, Islington, 2010

"We had the Carmen presentation in school today and it was absolutely AMAZING! Adults and children really loved it. We had a great afternoon! Thank you so much to your very talented staff!" 

Class Teacher, Pakeman Primary School Islington 2010

"Still getting very positive comments about Opera Blocks. Was told by one teacher that it was the best whole school workshop they had ever seen."

Music Coordinator, Ashmount Primary School, Islington 2010

Picture highlights of Carmen 2010:


Olivia Ray (Carmen) and Dominic Barrand (Escamillo) at St. Pancras Station and at the Camden Centre


The massed choirs and orchestras of Camden
Music at the Albert Hall 21st April 2010


The massed choirs and orchestras of Barnet ‘One Voice’ at the Albert Hall 29st April 2010.
The cast was led by Olivia Ray (Carmen), Charne Rochford (Don José), Dominic Barrand (Escamillo) and Elinor Jane Moran (Micaela) with Steven Neugarten playing piano for interactive presentations.

The massed choirs and orchestras of Barnet ‘One Voice’ together with EPOC soloists at the Albert Hall 29st April 2010. All the children in the foreground are orchestral players as are most of those sitting on the stage. The choirs, most of which are not visible, were ranged around the musicians.


A resource base has been created with the aid of our partners. It includes:

  • Piano/vocal scores
  • Scores with vocal line only - designed for children
  • Words only sheets
  • CD/MP3 Recordings with EPOC soloists, in English, of all featured sections
  • CD/MP3 Recordings with children’s lines highlighted
  • Midi Karaoke versions of all numbers
  • Full score for orchestra plus brass and wind bands
  • Teachers Pack
  • Opera Blocks Pack
  • Chandos Carmen CD  from the Opera in English series with Philharmonia Orchestra (cond. Parry) in the English translation that EPOC uses


Carmen - the choice of Don José

Introduction to EPOC’s Carmen by Mark Tinkler, director of Music Platform

Carmen is one of the greatest, best-known operas in the repertoire. It is packed full of tunes and drama and has given us, in the character of Carmen, one of the most recognisable and seductive of all characters in opera. In many ways, despite the fact that the opera is called Carmen, the most interesting character is Don José. Unlike Don José Carmen is, defiantly and unrepentantly what she is. She never changes or moderates her behaviour despite the pleading of Don José. He, on the other hand, makes a fascinating journey throughout the opera – a journey which, for our purposes, is full of educational possibilities.

Through the character of Don José we have chosen to emphasise some of these possibilities by accentuating the moral dilemmas that he has to make throughout the piece. In doing so, we hope to allow children to share and actively comment on the choices he has to make throughout the piece. In doing so, we are inviting our audience and cast to really think about the piece; not just take it at face value. Teachers should be warned: Carmen the character is who she is and Carmen the opera is what it is. Although we are doing a ‘pocket’ Carmen, our version does not censor the key ingredients (although we have taken out the ode to the smoke of cigarettes!). The piece is about Don José, his unreasoned passion and a series of his ill-considered choices – and the opera ends in an on-stage murder. However, as such, it is very moral tale and with the right preparation, children are more than able to appreciate the moral complexities involved and form their own judgements about the right and wrong of Don José’s actions.

Having said that, what everyone will take away with them is the sheer exuberance of the setting and the glorious music. As far as the music is concerned we are keen to stress the ‘singability’ of the music and as such Carmen is part of Music Platform’s Sing Op programme which, in line with the Music Manifesto  seeks to help ensure that every child gets the chance to sing every day. As we know, singing improves learning, confidence, health and social development. To help teachers use this project as part of their broader curriculum work we are developing the resources along the lines of, and with direct reference to, the popular Sing Up  programme.

I hope you enjoy it and look forward to hearing it!


For more information please call Mark or Aneta at the office 020 7281 4015 or write to us at