Carmen at the Opéra Comique
Until May 4, 2023
Place Boieldieu - 75002 Paris
Capacity 1200 seats
For all audiences
In French surtitled in French and English
Highlights: Carmen at the Opéra Comique
Can you guess who we are describing? She lives in Seville. She is a cigar maker who does not hold back from fighting with her fellow workers. She is in love with a dark and handsome brigadier. She hears the song "Avec la garde montante" and sings "L'Amour est un oiseau rebelle" with such great pride... Maybe she sounds familiar? It is, of course, Carmen, the beautiful heroine of Bizet's comic opera in four acts, with a libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on Prosper Mérimée's novella. Carmen is back at the Opéra Comique, the very place where this opera, now one of the most performed in the world, was first breathed life into. The beautiful Carmen we know and love is home and it is the sublime Gaëlle Arquez, the rising French mezzo-soprano, who embodies this famous operatic figure.
Story: Carmen at the Opéra Comique
“Carmen will never surrender, born free, free will she die!” cries Bizet’s heroine to Don José at the end of the opera. This irrepressible freedom, coupled with a need to live ever more intensely, is strongly present in this production of Carmen. With Mérimée, Bieito retains the burning temperament of a woman who lives by small-time trafficking. A test for the ages in this timeless piece, the rebel bird Carmen is essentially a creature of our own times; a brazen and indomitable seductress and a product of social and masculine brutality, she lives life in the fast lane, avid for existence.
A violent passion, crushed by the Spanish sun: upon this framework based on the work by Prosper Mérimé, Georges Bizet writes expressive, elegant, and colorful music alternating dramatic and light passages with scientific precision. Viva la Carmencita. Olé!
If you take a walk in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, you will be delighted to discover in the small, quaint Place Boieldieu, a superb building of beautiful proportions topped by six caryatids: the Opéra Comique, a theatre house in Paris, which celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2015. You will be surprised to learn that this gold and red auditorium, also known as Salle Favart, is considered the first modern theatre in France because it was the first to be designed with fully electric equipment for both public and stage lighting.
That doesn’t rest as the only surprise… Despite its name, the Opéra Comique doesn’t only perform comic operas, a particular kind of musical show that mixes sung arias with spoken theatre (the ancestor of the musical), but a wide range of operas as well! It was in this venue that works that are now internationally known were created, such as Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust, Delibes's Lakmé, Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande... but also Massenet's Manon and Bizet's Carmen! This hall has welcomed the finest composers and never ceased to welcome works from the contemporary repertoire. Viva la musica! Viva l'opera!
Fast facts Capacity: 1,200 seats Handicap Accessible: Yes Air conditioning: No Chauffage: Yes