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Anita Rachvelishvili © Gregory Regini

Bizet Carmen

From 07 March TO 21 March 2020
Staatsoper Unter den Linden - Berlin
Program

Bizet : Carmen 170 mn

Sung in : French
Cast
  • Conductor
    Daniel Barenboim
  • Director
    Martin Kusej
  • Performers
    Carmen: Anita Rachvelishvili
    Don José: Michael Fabiano
    Escamillo: Ildebrando D'Arcangelo
    Micaela: Christiane Karg
    Frasquita: Serena Saenz
    Mercédès: Alyona Abramova
    Zuniga: Jan Martiník
    Le Dancaïre: Jaka Mihelac
    Le Remendado: Linard Vrielink
    Moralès: Adam Kutny
Details on the Performance

An opéra comique with a tragic ending that depicts the eternal game of passion and torturous jealousy, and whose fiery music continues to appeal to audiences worldwide – that is Bizet’s »Carmen«. Idiosyncratic, memorable characters suffer the ultimately fatal consequences of their alternating attraction and repulsion.

Georges Bizet, whose opera »Carmen« was premiered in Paris in spring 1875, may have predicted the success of his opera, but he did not live to enjoy it. On its 33rd performance, he died, aged only 38. Today »Carmen« is one of the most frequently performed pieces in the repertoire, and there is no foreseeable end to its enthusiastic reception. It features a number of songs that have become true hits, while its southern flair and vivid orchestral sounds create a sensual mood, only adding to its charm. The music is ingeniously composed, corresponding to the opera’s dramatic events, and yet is catchy enough to be popular in the good sense. Each of the characters has an individual musical profile: the figures on stage are true to life, and their parts almost realistic, which adds to the credibility of their operatic performance. Bizet’s »Carmen« is a masterpiece in the repertoire of opera.

Source © Staatsoper Unter Den Linden

 

  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis

Staatsoper Unter den Linden - Berlin Location Unter den Linden 7 - 10117 Berlin Allemagne

The Venue's History in few words …

When the opera house situated on the Lindenallee was inaugurated in 1742, Frederick the Great intended to turn it into the cultural symbol of his ideal capital, the hub of the "Forum Fridericianum." This "enchanted palace," as the enlightened despot called it, is one of the rare vestiges of the old city still visible today, and a large part of German musics cultural heritage is contained within its walls. The Berlin Staatskapelle, for example, the orchestra connected with the opera, was founded in 1570 and the list of its permanent conductors includes names such as those of Meyerbeer, Mendelssohn, Richard Strauss, Furtwangler, Klemperer and Karajan! During the 19th century, the Berlin Opera remained a royal opera, where Weber's FREISCHUTZ was premiered. The activities of the Berlin Staatskapelle developed under Spontini's responsability, the first "Preussischer Generalmusikdirektor," ever appointed. This goes to show the importance of the ensemble in German musical life at that time, an importance which constantly grew, especially after the "Sinfonie-Soireen" were created in 1842, open to the public by subscription.

 

In 1919, the Royal Opera became a state opera, and played an active role in the exhuberant artistic activity that rocked Germany during the twenties: Erich Kleiber presented Berg's WOZZECK and popular harmonies of composers such as Kurt Weill resounded in this shrine of the lyrical repertoire, until Nazism cut short a period of intense creativity. During the war, Karajan forged his reputation in the theatre, until bombs destroyed the building, partially in 1941, and completely in 1945.

 

Because of its geographical situation, the Staatsoper became, in 1949, the Opera of East Berlin. In 1955, the East German administration reinstalled the company in its illustrious hall, rebuilt along the original plans, and one could soon applaud singers such as Peter Schreier and Theo Adam on its stage, musicians who helped create a truly Eastern German singing tradition.

 

Since the German reunification, the institution has been completely reorganized, especially under the impetus of Daniel Barenboim, who became its General Music Director in 1992. Proud of its impressive history, the present day Opera Unter den Linden hardly neglects its baroque beginnings, and it henceforth counts amongst those that most often produce pre-Mozartian lyrical works, such as CLEOPATRA E CESARE by Graun which opened the Opera's first season in 1742. But the house also commissions works by Pierre Boulez, while defending the traditional repertoire, in which Wagner occupies a large place. By thus juxtaposing tradition and innovation, the Opera Unter den Linden has become one of the institutions most representative of Berlin's new dynamism.

Staatsoper Unter den Linden

Synopsis

Carmen

Carmen is among the renowned operas in the world, composed by Georges Bizet. It is one of the most attention-grabbing operas, composed of eminent melodies. The play was written by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halevy, and based on a short story by Prosper Merimee.
Carmen's intoxicating melodies together with the atmosphere represent the misery and emotions of these characters.

It is a fascinating opera full of affection and jealousy, and with an awesome performance which makes this Carmen most enjoyable and dramatic for any first time operagoer. Stunning, this opera is performed in almost all opera theaters in the entire world.

HISTORY
Carmen was first staged on 3rd March 1875 in Paris Opéra Comique.

The opera has then been recorded in various versions, since 1908 and has been the narrative of numerous screens and theater adaptations.

Act I
Spain. In Seville by a cigarette factory, soldiers comment on the townspeople. Among them is Micaëla, a peasant girl, who asks for a corporal named Don José. Moralès, another corporal, tells her he will return with the changing of the guard. The relief guard, headed by Lieutenant Zuniga, soon arrives, and José learns from Moralès that Micaëla has been looking for him. When the factory bell rings, the men of Seville gather to watch the female workers—especially their favorite, the gypsy Carmen. She tells her admirers that love is free and obeys no rules. Only one man pays no attention to her: Don José. Carmen throws a flower at him, and the girls go back to work. José picks up the flower and hides it when Micaëla returns. She brings a letter from José’s mother, who lives in a village in the countryside. As he begins to read the letter, Micaëla leaves. José is about to throw away the flower when a fight erupts inside the factory between Carmen and another girl. Zuniga sends José to retrieve the gypsy. Carmen refuses to answer Zuniga’s questions, and José is ordered to take her to prison. Left alone with him, she entices José with suggestions of a rendezvous at Lillas Pastia’s tavern. Mesmerized, he agrees to let her get away. As they leave for prison, Carmen escapes. Don José is arrested.

Act II

Carmen and her friends Frasquita and Mercédès entertain the guests at the tavern. Zuniga tells Carmen that José has just been released. The bullfighter Escamillo enters, boasting about the pleasures of his profession, and flirts with Carmen, who tells him that she is involved with someone else. After the tavern guests have left with Escamillo, the smugglers Dancaïre and Remendado explain their latest scheme to the women. Frasquita and Mercédès are willing to help, but Carmen refuses because she is in love. The smugglers withdraw as José approaches. Carmen arouses his jealousy by telling him how she danced for Zuniga. She dances for him now, but when a bugle call is heard he says he must return to the barracks. Carmen mocks him. To prove his love, José shows her the flower she threw at him and confesses how its scent made him not lose hope during the weeks in prison. She is unimpressed: if he really loved her, he would desert the army and join her in a life of freedom in the mountains. José refuses, and Carmen tells him to leave. Zuniga bursts in, and in a jealous rage José fights him. The smugglers return and disarm Zuniga. José now has no choice but to join them.

Act III

Carmen and José quarrel in the smugglers’ mountain hideaway. She admits that her love is fading and advises him to return to live with his mother. When Frasquita and Mercédès turn the cards to tell their fortunes, they foresee love and riches for themselves, but Carmen’s cards spell death—for her and for José. Micaëla appears, frightened by the mountains and afraid to meet the woman who has turned José into a criminal. She hides when a shot rings out. José has fired at an intruder, who turns out to be Escamillo. He tells José that he has come to find Carmen, and the two men fight. The smugglers separate them, and Escamillo invites everyone, Carmen in particular, to his next bullfight. When he has left, Micaëla emerges and begs José to return home. He agrees when he learns that his mother is dying, but before he leaves he warns Carmen that they will meet again.

Act IV

Back in Seville, the crowd cheers the bullfighters on their way to the arena. Carmen arrives on Escamillo’s arm, and Frasquita and Mercédès warn her that José is nearby. Unafraid, she waits outside the entrance as the crowds enter the arena. José appears and begs Carmen to forget the past and start a new life with him. She calmly tells him that their affair is over: she was born free and free she will die. The crowd is heard cheering Escamillo. José keeps trying to win Carmen back. She takes off his ring and throws it at his feet before heading for the arena. José stabs her to death.

MAIN ROLES
Carmen, a gypsy girl, mezzo soprano

Don Jose, corporal of dragoons, tenor

Escamillo, toreador, bass-baritone

Micaela, A village maiden, soprano

Zuniga, lieutenant of dragoons, bass

Morales, corporal of dragoons, baritone

Staatsoper Unter den Linden

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