Manitoba Opera’s “Carmen” production opened over the weekend to a nearly packed Centennial Concert Hall.  

Post-performance reviews were glowing, with the production enthusiastically reviewed by experienced opera goers and newcomers alike, according to Lara Secord-Haid.  

“Just hearing people come up afterwards and say, ‘this was my first opera and I’m definitely coming back,’” she recounts. “It’s just the warmest feeling in the world.” 



Now based in Berlin, Secord-Haid has returned to her hometown to sing the role of Frasquita.  

The production features a stellar cast of soloists, including her partner in life, bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch, who performs as the dashing toreador, Escamillo.  

Last seen in Winnipeg performing the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni (2018), the pair are enjoying the opportunity of performing – and being – together in the city.  

“We don’t have a lot of stage time together but it’s really a joy to be on a gig together,” says Okulitch. "Virtually every other time, it’s been one of us is singing and the other is there visiting.” 

The limited stage time does include Escamillo’s bravado-filled “Toreador Song” which provides Frasquita the opportunity to “shamelessly flirt (with him),” says Secord-Haid.  

The rare combination of stellar music and well-crafted libretto are hallmarks of the opera, according to Okulitch.  

“The strength of the story carries (the opera) ... supported by music that people really respond to.” he says. “You understand someone through the music they are singing.”  

All of this comes together in the most magical of ways.  

“There’s a certain genius in how clear everything is,” says Okulitch. “I think people can just, therefore, invest in the drama because these stories are not ambiguous.”  

Manitoba Opera’s Carmen has two more performances: Wednesday, April 17 at 7 p.m. and Friday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. 

Limited tickets are available through the website:  

In the full Classic 107 interview, learn more about where Dan likely first heard the “Toreador Song,” the direction of the production by Brian Deedrick, and what it’s like being a performing couple in the opera world.