Since the premiere in 1875, the character of Carmen in Bizet's hitlist of an opera has captivated audiences all over the world. Carmen desires desire itself. She is a seducer, conqueror, rule-breaker and radical. A century before the hippie movement's «make love, not war», in Habañera Carmen proclaims that it is the freedom to love that matters: what, whom and when she wants. Love is like a rebellious bird that no one can tame, she sings, or a gypsy’s child.
Catalan director Calixto Bieito attracted a lot of attention with last season's The Tales of Hoffmann. His version of Carmen sets the action in Spain at the end of the 1970s, immediately after the Franco era. The production is still characterised by the captivating and physical musical drama that has always fascinated Carmen's audiences. In a circle of light – bursting with energy – we confront the violent human desire for attention, power and satisfaction. The hard-hitting disappointment of rejection is laid bare for us, along with the difficult situation of girls and women faced with poverty and male chauvinism. And in the centre is the seductive figure of Carmen, her radicalism given a new, timeless relevance.