New production of ‘Carmen’ at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence

Pablo Heras-Casado returns to the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence this summer, to lead eight performances of Bizet’s smoldering classic, Carmen. This new staging by director Dmitri Tcherniakov, a co-production with Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, presents an insightful and bold take on this timeless opera, with Stéphanie d’Oustrac embodying the title role, Michael Fabiano as Don José, Elsa Dreisig as Micaëla, and Michael Todd Simpson sings Escamillo, and the Orchestre de Paris and Chœur Aedes. Performances take place July 4, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17 & 20 at the Grand Théâtre de Provence.

Heras-Casado’s past performances of Carmen at The Metropolitan Opera were praised for his “sensuous, thrilling account of Bizet’s score … The Met orchestra sounded their sumptuous best under his baton” (New York Classical Review).

Synopsis from Festival d’Aix-en-Provence: Free she was born and free she will die. This sometime cigar-maker, sometime smuggler with something of the sorceress about her is often in love – as capable of making a deserter of the sergeant Don José as she is of wooing the toreador, Escamillo. She is the ally of love – that rebellious bird and gypsy’s child she resembles so much. Her first name: Carmen. Around these two syllables Prosper Mérimée built a novella that Georges Bizet used to create a character that his opera would turn into a myth: that of a free woman who heeds her desires without worrying about propriety, and who is condemned to end up stabbed to death by a deserter consumed by passion. But a myth is open to an infinite number of possible readings. Although it has become the most popular opera in the world, Carmen – like any universal masterpiece – can still benefit from an innovative approach. Visionary director Dmitri Tcherniakov’s take on it promises some strong emotions as, like Mérimée, he shows us Carmen through the eyes of José. And against the dizzying vortex created by the meticulous direction, under the baton of an unbridled Pablo Heras-Casado, the eternal dance of love-unto-death plays out once more.


Pablo Heras-Casado is the Principal Guest Conductor of Teatro Real, Madrid, Director of the Granada Festival, Conductor Laureate of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, artist of harmonia mundi & Deutsche Grammophon, also records for Decca Classics and Sony Classical, and is Global Ambassador of Ayuda en Acción.


Photos: Fernando Sancho