Opening: In the Paris of 1875, Georges Bizet’s opera of love and death in old Seville was slightly too sordid for the Opera Comique, whose management believed in family viewing and fought a rear-guard action against the sex and violence up to the first night, trying to get Bizet and his colleagues to tone it down. (Spoiler: It’s no “Mary Poppins.” She still gets stabbed outside the bullring.) “Carmen,” in any case, has always been a strong vehicle for Minnesota Opera, whose new production, in a staging by Michael Cavanagh with Michael Christie conducting, opens a nine-performance run Saturday at the Ordway Center. Nora Sourouzian and Victoria Vargas alternate in the title role. The obsessed Don Jose will be sung by Rafael Davila and Cooper Nolan. (7:30 p.m. Sat., next Thu. and May 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9; 2 p.m. May 3 and 10; Ordway Center, 345 Washington St., St. Paul; $20-$200, 612-333-6669 or mnopera.org)

Michael Anthony


James Sewell Ballet

Opening: Dessa, a beloved figure in Minnesota’s music scene, is used to wearing different hats — singer, rapper, spoken-word artist, poet, speaker, TV host and essayist. This weekend, Dessa’s scintillating rhythms and striking lyrics enter James Sewell Ballet’s spring concert at the Cowles Center. Using Dessa’s recorded music, Artistic Director James Sewell offers a world premiere of “Into the Spin.” Also, for the first time in the Twin Cities, is Sewell’s “Silk Road,” set to music by world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. Developed with the dancers while in residence in Montana, the piece stretches into new forms of movement. JSB is also bringing back Norbert de la Cruz III’s “Dusty Realms,” which premiered at the 2013 Ballet Works Project. (8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Ends May 3; Cowles Center, 528 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.; $20-36, 612-206-3600 or thecowlescenter.org)

Sheila Regan


St. Paul Chamber Orchestra

This weekend: Roberto Abbado leads the SPCO in his final concerts as an artistic partner. Abbado has been with the ensemble longer than any other artistic partner and his program this weekend leans on standard repertoire and a world premiere. Composer Fred Lerdahl will unveil a work commissioned by the SPCO. In addition, pianist Lise de la Salle performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3. Also on Abbado’s program is Mozart’s Prague Symphony (No. 38). (7:30 p.m. Thu., 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; Ordway Concert Hall, 345 Washington St., St. Paul; $10-$50, 651-291-1144 or thespco.org)

Graydon Royce