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The most peculiar thing about the quintessential Spanish opera Carmen may be its composer — Georges Bizet, a sickly, depressive Frenchman who never laid eyes on Spain. At its premiere, Carmen met with such harsh reviews that the theater had to give away tickets to fill seats. But the show was championed by Debussy, Tchaikovsky and Brahms, and became the most beloved opera of all time. All this came too late for Bizet, who died of a chill at age 36, exactly three months after Carmen's disastrous opening. But not too late for you. Carmen opens the Lyric Opera's season (its last before it moves to the Kauffman Center) tonight at 8, with a brand-new set and cast of 75 at the Lyric Theatre (1029 Central, 816-471-7344). Additional performances: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 8 p.m. October 1, 2 p.m. October 3 and 7:30 p.m. October 4. See kcopera.org.— Grace Suh
Sat., Sept. 25, 8 p.m.; Wed., Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Oct. 1, 9 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 3, 2 p.m., 2010

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