As Abu Dhabi marvels at the opera Carmen being staged at Emirates Palace, tabloid! caught up with three of the stars in the cast during their first experience of performing in the UAE.

Conductor-director Hristo Georgiev Ignatov was delighted to be in the Middle East following his last exposure as a conductor of the famous opera Aida in Cairo. Ignatov has also staged operas in Alexandria and Antalya as well as in various parts throughout Europe.

First time

"This is the first time a member from the Bulgarian State Academic Opera has visited the UAE and it's an honour to be here," he said during a press conference last week. "I am exceptionally thrilled by the hospitality I have been receiving."
Mezzo soprano Jadranka Jovanovic said her character, Carmen, represented the lives of millions of women around the world and that she personally feels a connection with Carmen.

Born in Belgrade Serbia, Jovanovic started her international career at Teatro alla Scala, in Milan, where she appeared in Carmen.

When asked if she related to Carmen as a character her response was: "It's not easy to act out Carmen's true personality because I have to appear beautiful and sweet yet preserve a fatal look. You cannot be pretentious while acting out Carmen, it has to come from within. You have to believe in the character," she said.

Fiery temper

However, she said, for Carmen, beauty was not important.

"She is not a vulgar woman, she's a good-hearted gypsy with a fiery temper. Her character made me realise that freedom is not only experienced during childhood. After gaining a lot of experience in life, I now stand as a free adult who possesses good knowledge, financial stability and a happy life without feeling fear. Beauty without freedom is nothing."

Famous opera soloist Emil Ivanov, who plays the lead role of Don Jose, was modestly translating most of the words spoken by Jovanovic.

Ivanov is famous for being one of the lead tenors in the Verdi repertory. His repertory includes over 20 lead tenor parts.


When asked what the cast's message would be to the public who may not have been able to catch the famous classical opera, the conductor-director Ignatov said: "No matter where you are around the world, you must know that Carmen will always remain a female who will excite people with her fatal charisma. It's worth attending the opera one day or even reading about it."

Don't miss it

Tonight is the last chance to see Carmen. Doors open at 8pm and tickets are priced from Dh350 to Dh750.
Call Emirates Palace on 02-690-8430 or 02-690-8431 or visit