At the same time fêted and hated by her own sex, desired and punished by the opposite one, Carmen upsets. The hatred she causes comes from the desire she arises. Director Marie-Eve Signeyrole sets her debut production for the Latvian National Opera in a modern urban setting.
‘If I love you, beware!’ – Those lines from Carmen’s famous aria ‘La Habanera’ has made her without doubt one of the most famous femmes fatales in opera. The story of the seductive gipsy who plays her game with all men and particularly Don José has been staged and interpreted many, many times over.
Director Marie-Eve Signeyrole offers now a modern feminist approach to the classic tale. ‘We chose to place CARMEN’s action in a suburb’, says Signeyrole. ‘The children who play outside and provoke the police, drug dealers settling scores, street artists and dancers trying to express themselves… A small scale and violent world marked by the extreme hardness of human relationships. We needed a place where sensuality, desire and freedom are forbidden by the social context. Carmen’s body has to be in itself a counterpoint to the concrete body of the buildings. A kind of new feminism related to the populations of the suburbs; an assumed femininity that plays with the rules established by men.’
Romanian mezzo soprano Ramona Zaharia stars as Carmen, Russian tenor Dmitry Golovnin embodies the desperate Don José. The young conductor Jānis Liepiņš, Young Artist of the Year at the Grand Music Awards 2013, leads the Latvian National Opera Orchestra.