The internationally acclaimed production of Carmen by Calixto Bieito kicks off the new Hungarian State Opera season on 3 September 2021 at the Eiffel Art Studios, the new artistic complex of the institute starring Andrea Szántó, Szabolcs Brickner and Zsolt Haja under the baton of János Kovács.
The version of Bizet's Carmen by the Catalonian director Calixto Bieito started its journey around the world more than twenty years ago, in 1999. The world premiere was held at the Festival de Peralada, a Catalonian festival, and has since graced the grand opera stages of Europe and America, from San Francisco to Oslo and Antwerp, and twenty different countries. Now, it has arrived in Hungary in 2021.
“Carmen is a personality who loves life and lives it without constraints. She finds joy in discovering her own limits and those of the people around her. All of this comes from within; she has no need to construct a separate personality for it. She cannot even see herself from outside. She is an instinctive human being with her own simplicity and her own complexity. She is simultaneously intuitive, coarse, passionate, melancholy and sensitive,” said director Calixto Bieito, the “Quentin Tarantino of the opera stage”, whose productions cut incisively into the reality of their stories, making them shockingly provocative.
And what work would suit this directing style better – with its similarly crazed passions and emotions – than Georges Bizet’s French opera Carmen? The director has transplanted this opera set in 19th-century Seville to post-Franco Spain, where he depicts a savage and cruel world with a high degree of realism – and not a hint of the clichéd flamenco of folklore. With his own raw realism, Bieito brings the opera even closer to the novel by Prosper Mérimée on which it is based.
The title role is performed by Andrea Szántó, her partners are Szabolcs Brickner (Don José) and Zsolt Haja / Gábor Bretz (Escamillo) along with Attila Erdős (Dancaïre), Botond Ódor (Remendado), István Rácz (Zuniga), Attila Dobák (Moralès), Kinga Kriszta (Micaëla), Ildikó Megyimórecz / Zsófia Nagy (Frasquita), and Anna Csenge Fürjes / Melinda Heiter (Mercédès). The Hungarian State Opera Orchestra, Chorus (chorus director: Gábor Csiki) and Children's Chorus (chorus director: Nikolett Hajzer) are conducted by János Kovács and István Dénes.
Premiere: 3 September, further dates: 5, 10, 16 September, 8, 10 October 2021
Venue: Eiffel Art Studios
Photo: Edina Ligeti