She is an enchanting seductress, the quintessential femme fatale and she represents all that is exotic. Carmen, the most popular fictional character in French opera, is back! Robert Carsen’s staging of Carmen strips the opera of its clichés and kitsch, while retaining the essence of the Spanish spirit. A good 150 years have passed since the opera first premièred in Paris, but Carmen, the heroine of this tale, continues to capture the imagination of audiences with her undisguised sensuality and free-spirited mentality.
Vive la liberté!
In 1875, Carmen was typecast by Bizet as the ultimate sultry siren – alluring and irresistible to men. She embodied everything that went against the grain of propriety, exposing the secret, inner desires of respectable citizens in the 19th century. Carmen’s nonconformist approach highlights the general parochial mindset of the time, which was punctuated by self-righteous morality. In 19th century culture, Carmen personified exoticism and the longing people felt for faraway places. She is intoxicating, intriguing audiences with her uncompromising approach to life, unwilling to sacrifice either love or freedom. She lives life true to her ideals and is fearless in her pursuit of these: vive la liberté!
Dutch National Opera debut
Young Canadian conductor Jordan de Souza, hailed as a pioneer of his generation, will make his Dutch National Opera debut and promises to provide a refreshing interpretation of Bizet’s score. The production will feature a cast of exceptional singers, including French tenor Stanislas de Barbeyrac as Don José and mezzosoprano J’Nai Bridges, whose portrayal of Carmen is in great international demand.
Lyric drama in four acts - sung in French
Libretto Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on the novella by Prosper Mérimée
Musical direction Jordan de Souza
Stage direction Robert Carsen
Set design Michael Levine
Costume design Falk Bauer
Lighting design Robert Carsen Peter van Praet
Choreography Marco Berriel
Don José Stanislas de Barbeyrac
Escamillo Lukasz Golinski
Le Dancaïre Michael Wilmering
Le Remendado Ian Castro*
Zuniga Frederik Bergman
Morales Opera Studio
Carmen J’Nai Bridges
Micaëla Adriana González
Frasquita Inna Demenkova*
Mercédès Polly Leech
Lilas Pastia Laurent D’Elia
Georgiy Derbas – Rikhter Morales*
* Dutch National Opera Studio
Orchestra Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Chorus Chorus of Dutch National Opera
Chorusmaster Lionel Sow
Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderkoor (part of Nieuw Vocaal Amsterdam)
Rehearsals children’s chorus Anaïs de la Morandais