Today’s online broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera features Sir Richard Eyre’s production of Georges Bizet’s hugely popular opera Carmen.
In 1872 Bizet was commissioned by the theatre director of the Opéra-Comique in Paris to write an opera for the company. The libretto, by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halevy, was an adaptation of the 1845 novella by Prosper Mérimée, and although Bizet was confident that he’d created a colorful, fiery and passionate work about a seductive, bewitching and strong-willed woman, the premiere in 1875 wasn’t well received. Audiences were shocked at the obsession and violence of the storyline, and Bizet was left disconsolate and depressed. He died three months later, at the age of 36, never knowing that his opera would become one of the most popular in the world.
This production – screened in the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series on February 2, 2019 – features French mezzo-soprano Clémentine Margaine as the free-spirited gypsy Carmen, the object of desire of many men, but one determined to do things her way. Roberto Alagna is her lover, Don José, who sacrifices all for her, but is ultimately spurned when the toreador Escamillo attracts Carmen’s interest. The grandstanding Escamillo is sung by Alexander Vinogradov and Aleksandra Kurzak is the demure Micaëla.
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus are conducted by Louis Langrée, and the performance will be available to view on the Met website at 7.30 pm EDT on Tuesday, August 11.