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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Atlanta Opera rolls out signature cocktails for "Carmen" premiere

BATTLE ROYALE: The national election may have overshadowed a significant local race. Fans of the Atlanta Opera voted on a drink to be served at productions of Carmen November 10-18 at the Cobb Energy Centre. It came down to Dirty Martini vs. Champagne Cocktail. Guess who won?
  • Andrew Alexander
  • BATTLE ROYALE: The national election may have overshadowed a significant local race. Earlier this Fall, fans of the Atlanta Opera voted on a drink to be served at productions of "Carmen" November 10-18. It came down to Dirty Martini vs. Champagne Cocktail. Guess who won?
Now that we've accomplished the task of picking a president, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief and move on to another pressing question ... Champagne Cocktail or Dirty Martini?

While the political campaigns raged away this Fall, the Atlanta Opera was holding an election of its own, and this one didn't cause any cute little girls to cry. For its upcoming production of Carmen, November 10-18, at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, the Opera wanted a special concoction that would reflect all the passion and drama on stage. The organization asked fans to vote for the drink they most wanted, and the results are in.

The Story: Carmen is set in 19th century Seville, and it tells the story of good soldier Don José who falls for the fiery gypsy Carmen. Don José loses everything when he deserts his military duties and abandons his former sweetheart—the innocent and long-suffering good girl Micaëla—to follow Carmen, but in the end he loses her to the glamorous bullfighter Escamillo. The passionate story has some of opera's most famous music, and the Atlanta Opera production features mezzo-soprano María José Montiel as Carmen and tenor Fernando de la Mora in the role of Don José;.

The Set-Up: In September, the Atlanta Opera designed four cocktails—one to represent each of the four main characters—and opera fans voted via the Atlanta Opera's Facebook page for which drink they most wanted to be served at the show.

The Candidates: Get to know them:

  • The Carmen Margarita, featuring that "bad girl of boozes," tequila, shaken with fresh lime and tempting Grand Marnier, represented the sensual and naughty Carmen.

  • The delicate pink color and the bubbly innocence of champagne with a splash of cranberry suited good girl Micaëla in the Micaëla Champagne Cocktail.

  • The Dirty Martini represented Don José, the man-of-dignity brought low by getting mixed up with the wrong woman.

  • The bold, stimulating flavors of coffee liqueur blended with the smoothness of cream in a White Russian perfectly summed up the suavely heroic and handsome Escamillo.

The Voting: It was a difficult campaign, but in the end the Micaëla Champagne Cocktail pulled ahead as a clear winner with the Dirty Don José Martini polling as a close second. (The Carmen Margarita and the Escamillo White Russian were not forced to give awkward concession speeches). Interestingly, the votes broke down almost exactly by gender, the Opera reports. Primarily women were drawn to the Champagne Cocktail, and men mostly wanted the Dirty Martini.

Why choose?: The election was so close that the Opera ultimately decided to serve both cocktails throughout Carmen's run at Cobb Energy. The Micaëla Champagne Cocktail is $9 and the Don José Dirty Martini is $10. Cobb Energy's Concession Manager Aldo Cardenas even says that his bartenders will be glad to mix up either of the losing drinks for anyone who orders them.

Hmmm... A campaign featuring drinks instead of politicians, with tastings instead of debates, all leading up to a classic show where all the tasty candidates are winners. That's a campaign we can really get behind!

The Atlanta Opera presents "Carmen" November 10-18 at the Cobb Energy Centre for Performing Arts. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Atlanta Opera.

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