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Bizet: Carmen

Glyndebourne Festival 2015

4:50 PM, ​ Glyndebourne Festival, Glyndebourne

Bizet Carmen

Stéphanie d’Oustrac Carmen
Pavel Cernoch Don José
Paulo Szot Escamillo
Lucy Crowe Micaëla
David Soar Zuniga
Eliana Pretorian Frasquita
Rihab Chaieb Mercédès
Christophe Gay Le Dancaïre
Loïc Felix Le Remendado
Gavan Ring Moralès

London Philharmonic Orchestra
The Glyndebourne Chorus
Jakub Hrůša conductor

‘I have written a work that is all clarity and vivacity, full of colour and melody’, wrote Bizet of Carmen, composed shortly before his sudden death at age 37. He would never know that his tale of a free-spirited femme fatale would become one of the world’s most widely performed and beloved operas.

Set in Andalucía, Carmen reflects the 19th-century European fascination with the exotic, evoked through the use of authentic Spanish music – alongside popular-style opéra-comique tunes and soaring French lyricism. Based on the 1845 novella by Prosper Mérimée, Carmen traces the joined fates of the fiery gypsy Carmen and Don José, a naïve army corporal. In love with Carmen, he abandons his childhood sweetheart and deserts from the military, but loses the capricious Carmen to the glamorous toreador Escamillo, with deadly results. The opera’s portrayal of working-class life, dissolution and lawlessness, as well as the shocking onstage murder of its heroine and the ground-breaking music Bizet wrote for it, scandalised early audiences but blazed new trails in opera.

Of David McVicar’s production, last seen in Festival 2008, The Guardian wrote: ‘It is a brooding view of Carmen, a dissection of lost souls embedded in Michael Vale’s scrupulously realist sets … Sue Blane’s meticulously Spanish costumes provide a note of native colour… McVicar powers this Glyndebourne production with the energy of Rent, and with the seediness of Cabaret.’

Jakub Hrůša conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra, with Glyndebourne favourite Stéphanie d’Oustrac in the iconic title role, the charismatic Polish-Brazilian baritone Paulo Szot as Escamillo, acclaimed Czech tenor Pavel Cernoch as Don José, and the dazzling British soprano Lucy Crowe as Micaëla.

Sung in French with English supertitles

A revival of the 2002 Festival production

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