Everyone knows Carmen. Everyone. Specifically, everyone knows the “Habanera” aria, also know as “L'amour est un oiseau rebelle” (“Love is a rebellious bird”), from Georges Bizet's 1875 opera. Hearing it is like falling into a swell of nostalgia and grace – even if you've never seen Carmen in full, the melody is so ubiquitous, so eerily familiar and so emotionally moving that most everyone can immediately recognize it, and consequently be carried away. Carmen became one of the best-known operas of all time, and Carmen one of the most beloved opera heroines, because the characters and situations are identifiable: a naive soldier, a fiery woman, a romantic entanglement, a jealous rage. The Pacific Opera Project understands the power of this Bizet masterpiece. It's staging a five-night run of Carmen: A POP-Up Production at the historic Highland Park Ebell Club beginning tonight. The project's mission is to make energetic, highly stylized productions of beautiful operas accessible to people outside of the royal court – something that staging this opera at this venue fulfills perfectly. Alas, while tables with wine and food were offered at one point, they've already sold out. But that's no big loss – we can't imagine eating while watching this love triangle plunge toward its explosive end. Highland Park Ebell Club, 131 S. Avenue 57, Highland Park; March 7-8 & 13-15, 8 p.m.; $20. (323) 739-6122, pacificoperaproject.com.

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Thu., March 13, 8 p.m. Starts: March 7. Continues through March 15, 2014
(Expired: 03/15/14)

LA Weekly