Mon, 16. Oct 2023, 19:30
Georges Bizet (1838 – 1875)
Bizet described his opera as an "operetta with a bad ending" - and rightly so, because what is unique about CARMEN is the mixture of romantic opera, realistic drama and Offenbach operetta. Ole Anders Tandberg's production tells the story in powerful images that constantly alternate between shock, grotesqueness and great emotion ... Conductor: Ben Glassberg; Production: Ole Anders Tandberg; With Aigul Akhmetshina, Maria Motolygina, Matthew Newlin / David Butt Philip, Byung Gil Kim a. o.
About the workGeorges Bizet’s titular heroine is as captivating a character as any in the history of opera. The different interpretations of Carmen are legion: we have the seductress, the personification of forbidden yearning, the standard bearer for the “eternally female” in the brutal battle of the sexes, the anarchist unfettered by bourgeois angst and compulsions, the archaic clairvoyante seeing her own death in the cards - yet free, as she does not dread her destiny. Few opera heroines are so open to interpretation and hence so able to serve as a mirror held up to society.
With CARMEN Bizet was throwing down the gauntlet to Romantic opera. His naturalistic presentation of a proletarian milieu with its poverty and crime was a direct challenge to the conventions of opera. It is a setting in which Don José’s dreams are doomed to be dashed. His fixation on Carmen sucks him into a pit of wretchedness and felony and he persistently rejects his chance to lead a steady, secure life with Micaëla the peasant girl.
This clash of principles – feminine versus masculine; bourgeoisie versus anarchy – is illustrated by the bullfighting scene, which is much more than a colourful bit of folklore used as a backdrop to the storyline; it is a gory ritual involving the survival of the fittest, where no quarter is given.
About the productionIn his version Norwegian director Ole Anders Tandberg has embraced the unique blend of great opera, working-class tragedy and overstoked operetta. He packs his triumphant ramped-up production with emotional realism, bloody corrida symbolism and grotesque, Tarantino-esque scenes of absurd cruelty. And the iconic character of the work is playfully reflected in the opulent Andalusian garb of Carmen and Escamillo.
Tandberg is interested in the eponymous heroine’s openness and the mystery surrounding her. He sees in her not just the seer, the anarchist or the focus of male gaze but also a person playing these different roles for fear of emotional injury, a woman who is led by Don José’s true love to glimpse, at least for isolated moments, behind the façade of her own Carmen poses.
Opéra comique in four acts by Georges BizetLibretto by Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on a novella by Prosper MériméeFirst performed on 3rd March 1875, in ParisPremiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 20th January 2018
Recommended from 14 years on