Carmen, the Opera about a fiery gipsy, is the most famous work by French composer, Georges Bizet. Even though, like his other operas, it was met with a very lukewarm reception from the critics of the day, Carmen went on to gain critical acclaim and become a bridge between traditional, opera comique and opera vérité.
Based on a novella by Prosper Mérimée, Carmen is set in Seville, Spain. In the dingy environment of factory workers, night prostitution, officers’ drinking binges, and heroic Toreador matches, Carmen lays her love trap. When she decides to seduce Private Don José, a decent man, thinking about marrying a decent village girl, Micaela, she leads him away and seduces him. This unleashes a series of destructive events in dramatic sequence, leading to a tragic end.
Bizet’s Carmen enchants the audience with the boldness of its main character and the power of the passion that is reflected in the popular musical motifs of the opera, full of Southern hot-bloodedness, dance and castanets.
In the National Theatre’s production, Carmen does not go into postmodern extravagances. Instead, it offers a professional, classical work in historical costumes and a period setting.
The musical performances of the orchestra, Kühn’s children’s choir and the protagonists are all outstanding, thus allowing the main character, played by the incomparable Andrea Tögel Kalivodová, to take centre stage. Carmen, in her rendition, stands out with a confident female pride and a bold, unrestrained charm, seducing and inspiring the viewer with her uncompromising personal freedom.