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J. Shane Mercer, Published May 08 2009

Soprano Cynthia Lawrence lends her voice to Fargo-Moorhead Opera's production of 'Carmen"

Cynthia Lawrence has been to some pretty exotic regions over the past year.

The lyric soprano sang Lady MacBeth at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She performed at a benefit concert in Lima, Peru. She traveled to Lithuania to rehearse for performances of “Madame Butterfly” in Spain. And she traveled to Jordan to perform in a concert featuring the likes of Plácido Domingo, Sting and Bono.

So, after jet-setting to the ends of the Earth, what’s next for Lawrence? Fargo, what else?

Lawrence plays the title role in the Fargo-Moorhead Opera’s production of “Carmen” this weekend. The opera is Bizet’s sensual tale of desire and tragedy in Spain.

The production, which lasts more than three hours, requires a large orchestra and different set “looks” for each of the four acts. F-M Opera General Manager David Hamilton says this is the “most massive” production the company has taken on since he’s been there and that “Carmen” is “probably the most requested.”

Lawrence’s part in this opera won’t be the first time the Twin Cities resident, who performed with the legendary Luciano Pavarotti more than 70 times, has taken the stage in Fargo. She was one of the divas in the F-M Opera’s “Dueling Divas” concert last year.

But just how does a talent the caliber of Lawrence end up playing “Carmen” in an area the size of Fargo-Moorhead? It doesn’t hurt that she’s old pals with Hamilton.

“A couple of years ago he asked if there was anything that I really wanted to do before I retired, and I jokingly said, ‘Oh, well, I’d love to sing ‘Carmen,’ ” Lawrence recalls. To which Hamilton said, “ ‘Funny you should say that.’ And the rest is history, as we say.”

The two old friends will meet on stage during the performance, as Hamilton takes on the lead male role of Don Jose.

“I just have a blast every time I sing the role,” he says.

And Lawrence is also looking forward to the performance of what she calls “a great musical piece.”

“I think there’s something in the show for everybody,” she says. “I think that’s why it appeals so much.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734

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