carmen unZipped: about the show



  1. Jean Stilwell: Mezzo Soprano

  2. Patti Loach: Pianist-Writer based on the true life and misadventures of Jean Stilwell

  3. Co-Directed by Brad Hampton and Rae Ellen Bodie

  4. CD Recording Engineer, and guest artist: John Loach, trumpet

  5. CD guest artist: David Bourque, clarinet

  6. Graphic Artwork for Posters and CDs: Amy Czettisch of Red Box Design

  7. CD and poster photography: Ian Brown, 416-598-0351

  8. Public Relations: Francine Labelle Ink

  9. Photographer for the 2007 world premiere of Carmen UnZipped: Peter Martyn

Premiered March 2007, Ernest Balmer Theatre, The Distillery District, Toronto

“L’amour est un oiseau rebelle”

by Susan Brown

What happens when a strong-willed, passionate singer inhabits a sensual and powerful character with a ferocious hunger for freedom? 

This is Jean Stilwell’s Carmen.

And yet in the two-woman show, “Carmen Unzipped”, Stilwell steps out of the opera hall and onto the cabaret stage with all of her usual elegance, wit and aplomb.

Along the way, she unzips our perceptions of how a diva should sound or look or behave.

With utter honesty and disarming cheekiness, the singer and pianist-writer Patti Loach sing, play and laugh their way through a range of music that illuminates real life joys and delusions, loves and losses.

The songs come from sources as varied as a young cabaret song-writing team from Manhattan, “Marcy and Zina” to the hauntingly beautiful “Falling in Love Again” made famous by Marlene Dietrich.

They range in emotion from poignant (check out Moose Charlap’s rarely recorded “I Was Telling Him About You”) to downright silly (“Taylor the Latte Boy”).

The final song in the show is Stilwell’s blisteringly hot version of Georges Bizet’s Habanera from the opera, Carmen. This aria is a perennial encore favorite for Jean’s audiences. 

Mezzo Soprano Jean Stilwell is famous, nationally and internationally, for her operatic performances and concert career.

Pianist Patti L
oach loves musical theatre, jazz and classical music. Her energy and skill at the piano make a thrilling complement to Stilwell's interpretations of musical theatre,  cabaret, opera and jazz classics.

Two women, joined at the hip, musically.

To see what the audiences are saying about the show, click here.


“Jean Stilwell brings back the glory days of the great chanteuses and songs that took people on a journey...” Paula Citron

Click here to see a sample programme.