Triple Threat

Candace Evans leads Madison Opera's production of "Carmen"

Growing up in Madison, Candace Evans was an artistic child. She began dance training at the age of six, started voice lessons in the third grade and regularly staged plays with friends in her parents’ garage. Her first choreography assignment, for a PTA meeting, came in sixth grade.

Evans’ hometown provided a rich training in music, dance and theater, the disciplines she’s combined throughout her career working in the performing arts.

“All three core areas were found in my childhood—and all were at a very high level in Madison,” she says. “Madison was huge, integral, unbelievable.”

So it’s fitting that Evans returns to her roots this month to direct and choreograph Madison Opera’s production of Carmen.

“I adore Carmen,” says Evans, who now lives in Dallas. “The core of the story is love and passion and what you care about—and being honest about it.”

Evans appreciates the robustness and physicality of the opera. It gives her the opportunity to push opera singers to enhance the connections between their bodies and voices, something she focuses on in her work. Even without supertitles, she believes audiences should comprehend the storyline.

“My modus operandi is always, ‘Tell the story well,’” she says. “If people don’t understand the story, it’s my fault.”

Evans also hopes audiences know how grateful she is to be home. “I do owe that city a debt,” she says. “We are a product of the education we get. This is a thank-you to the city.”

Madison Opera’s production of Carmen runs November 6 and 8 at Overture Hall. madisonopera.org

Katie Vaughn is associate editor of Madison Magazine.

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