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2019/09/09

Work of the Week – Georges Bizet: Carmen

Banner Bizet Carmen (c) Royal Theatre Copenhagen

The tragedy of Bizet’s Carmen has gripped audiences and inspired countless productions since its first performance in 1875. Today, the opera is one of the most well-known and frequently performed works in the genre. On 14 September, a new production by Barrie Kosky opens at the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen, conducted by Alexander Vedernikov. The new production will use material from Verlagsgruppe Hermann’s “Edition Meisterwerke”, which brings together all previously published versions of the work into a single critical edition allowing for direct comparison of the differences between individual publications.

The libretto to Bizet’s opera was written by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halvéy, based on the eponymous novel by Proser Mérimée. The immense success Carmen enjoys today contrasts the initial reaction it received from the audience at its premiere in Paris, who reacted negatively to the subject matter of the opera. Unfortunately, Bizet did not live to see the opera’s breakthrough production in Vienna later that year.

Georges Bizet – Carmen: Critical Edition of a Classic

Carmen is a woman who is totally aware of her womanhood. Even more: I’m convinced that Mérimée built with this character a type of woman in which the feminine is totally realized – this shows her individual value as a literary creation. In a modern way one could say that Carmen is the ideal type of an emancipated woman, which means she is free, safe and makes her own decisions. Teresa Berganza

Carmen will run in Copenhagen until mid-February, and another production will be presented later in the season in Mannheim, Meiningen and Chemnitz.

photo: Det Kongelige Teater