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New Orleans, LA – The only program in the country to explore a health issue through the combination of live scientific presentation with live operatic performance will present "Tobacco and Carmen" on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 from 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m. at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans. The event will take place in the Medical Education Building, 1901 Perdido Street, Lecture Room B, first floor where Mezzo Soprano Rinat Shaham, star of Bizet’s Carmen, will make a guest appearance.

This year's event focuses upon smoking, its epidemiology and pathology. Pulmonologist Dr. Carol Mason, Professor of Medicine at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine, will present Smoking: A Dying Epidemic? at 12:05 p.m. The lecture will be followed by an introduction to Georges Bizet's opera, Carmen, presented by Maestro Robert Lyall. Rinat Shaham will sing the arias "Havanaise" and "Chanson" which are normally sung on a stage set outside of the cigarette factory in Seville, where Carmen works. She will be accompanied by Carol Rausch, Choral Director, New Orleans Opera.

Rinat Shaham is an Israeli born Mezzo Soprano noted for her role as Carmen at such major opera houses as the Staatsoper Stuttgart, Vancouver Opera, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and Glyndebourne. In addition to many other opera roles, she has sung with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the London Symphony.

This event is the fourth of a series sponsored by the Medicine in the Arts Group, founded by Drs. Ranney and Emel Mize at LSU Health Sciences Center. The group includes students interested in the classical arts who help organize the series. Previous Medicine in the Arts events have included Tuberculosis and the Opera Heroine (La Traviata and La Boheme; presented by Maestro Robert Lyall); Orthopedic Disorders and Opera Characters (Rigoletto, starring the Metropolitan Opera Star Mark Rucker); and "Girl Interrupted", a movie about troubled adolescents.

First and Second Year Medical Students will receive free tickets to the opera via a drawing held in class with the intent to interest their generation in the performance arts.








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