Carmen is the best-known work by French composer Georges Bizet, and one of the most famous operas in the entire art form — numbers such as the "Habanera" and the "Toreador Song" have permeated the popular consciousness as little else has. The opera’s heady combination of passion, sensuality and violence initially proved too much for the stage, and it was a critical failure on its 1875 premiere. Bizet died shortly after, and never learned of the spectacular success his Carmen would achieve: the opera has been performed more than five hundred times at Covent Garden alone.
Carmen is set in southern Spain and tells the story of the downfall of Don José, a naïve soldier who is seduced by the wiles of the fiery gypsy Carmen. José abandons his childhood sweetheart and deserts from his military duties, yet loses Carmen's love to the glamorous matador Escamillo, after which José kills her in a jealous rage.
This ever-popular opera is given a fresh point of view in Barrie Kosky’s highly physical production, originally created for Frankfurt Opera. For Carmen he has devised a far-from-traditional version, incorporating music written by Bizet for the score but not usually heard, and giving a new voice to the opera’s endlessly fascinating central character. This production is filmed live in London and rebroadcast internationally to select screens.
This screening runs approximately 3 hours 20 minutes including one intermission and an onscreen introduction.
NOTE: Carmen is sung in French with English surtitles.