PRESS: CARMEN returns due to overwhelming demand

Christine Skinner (Publicist)

Cape Town City Ballet’s production of Veronica Paeper’s CARMEN returns to Artscape due to overwhelming demand. It will be presented from 28 September until 2 October for seven performances only.

Seating in the Artscape Opera House will be strictly limited to 250 seats due to social distancing and government regulations. All COVID-19 regulations will be in place including social distancing and wearing masks for entry.

With such limited seating at our recent sold-out short run, many patrons did not have the chance to experience this magnificent South African production by the powerhouse creative team of choreographer Veronica Paeper, designer Peter Cazalet and lighting designer Wilhelm Disbergen,” says Debbie Turner, CEO of Cape Town City Ballet.

We are therefore delighted to have the opportunity to return to the stage for an additional seven performances with increased seating. However space is still extremely limited so I encourage patrons to book in advance.”

Set to Georges Bizet’s dramatic, famous score, CARMEN will be performed to a recording by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. Inspired by Prosper Mérimée’s romantic novel of 1845, CARMEN is the ultimate tale of love, passion, betrayal and revenge.

Carmen is a fiery gypsy girl who mesmerises and seduces a young soldier, Don Jose. He gives up everything for her, abandoning his childhood sweetheart and deserting his military duties. However, Carmen’s free spirit will not be tamed and her unfaithfulness to him leads to tragic results.

I was truly delighted when Debbie Turner invited me to re-produce Carmen, a ballet I consider one of my better efforts,” says Veronica Paeper. “Bringing this wonderfully wild, passionate and headstrong gypsy back to life has been a real challenge in these difficult times, a challenge I have relished. Together with the dedicated dancers and all the staff of CTCB - artistic, admin and stage - I believe we have created a wonderful evening of entertainment. I certainly have enjoyed producing the Ballet.”

CARMEN is one of more than 40 ballets, among them 16 full-length works, that have been choreographed by Paeper, who began her creative portfolio in 1972. She choreographed her first production of CARMEN in 1987 for Capab. Her production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL – THE STORY OF SCROOGE for Cape Town City Ballet played to sold out houses and critical acclaim in December 2019, and will be restaged in December.

Paeper received her ballet training under the tutelage of Dulcie Howes at the UCT Ballet School, where she also studied with David Poole, Pamela Chrimes and Frank Staff. Staff, whom she married in 1966, and from whom she drew and continues to draw great inspiration, was to have a profound influence on her work as a choreographer.


During her performing career, Paeper rose to become a principal dancer with three South African companies: Capab Ballet, Pact Ballet and Pacofs Ballet.

Paeper held the position of Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer of Capab from 1990, and Cape Town City Ballet from 1997 until 2005. She led the company on its first international tour of a South African ballet company in 1994.

Paeper’s first work, created for Capab Ballet in the early 1970s, was John the Baptist, a dramatic one-act ballet set to music by Ernest Bloch. It featured scenery and costumes designed by Peter Cazalet, an innovative, witty artist who would remain Paeper’s most frequent artistic collaborator for the next 25 years.

Established as the Nico Malan Theatre in 1971, the Artscape building this year marks its 50th anniversary in existence. CARMEN is presented as part of Artscape’s celebrations for National Woman’s Day, which run throughout August and include the 15th annual Women’s Humanity Arts Festival.

The age recommendation for CARMEN is PG 10yrs.

CARMEN will be presented from Tuesday 28 September to Saturday 2 October at 19h30, with matinees on Thursday 30 September and Saturday 2 October at 15h00.

Tickets cost from R250 to R350. For the performance on Thursday 30 September at 15h00 only, there will be a pensioners ticket special for patrons 60 years and over.

Bookings can be made at Artscape Dial-a-seat 021 421 7695 or through Computicket from Wednesday 22 September (priority booking for Friends of the Ballet is already open through the Artscape Box office).

Cast lists are as follows:

Tues 28 Sept @ 19h30 - Leanè Theunissen, Kyle Baird, Hannah Ward, Jan Kotze, Quinton Jacobs

Wed 29 Sept @ 19h30 – Tamlyn Higgins, Miles Carrott, Mia Labuschagne, Quinton Jacobs, Bhungane Mehlomakulu

Thurs 30 Sept @ 15h00 – Caitlin Smith, Gabriel Ravenscroft, Mia Labuschagne, Quinton Jacobs, Jordon Roelfze

Thurs 30 Sept @ 19h30 Leanè Theunissen, Lêusson Muniz, Tamlyn Higgins, Kyle Baird, Quinton Jacobs)

Fri 1 Oct @ 19h30 - Tamlyn Higgins, Miles Carrott, Mia Labuschagne, Quinton Jacobs, Bhungane Mehlomakulu

Sat 2 Oct @ 15h00 - - Leanè Theunissen, Kyle Baird, Hannah Ward, Jan Kotze, Quinton Jacobs

Sat 2 Oct @ 19h30 – Tamlyn Higgins, Lêusson Muniz Hannah Ward, Kyle Baird, Quinton Jacobs

Please Note: The event complies with all COVID-19 regulations including social distancing and patrons must wear masks for entry.

Cape Town City Ballet is grateful for the support of the City of Cape Town, Western Cape Government, Food Lovers Market and Toby Fine Ballet Fund.