Opera South East presents Carmen by Georges Bizet
With the Sussex Concert Orchestra
White Rock Theatre, Hastings
Fri 21 and Sat 22 April 2023, 7.30pm
Director: Eleanor Strutt
Passion turns to jealousy. Hope turns to despair. Order turns to anarchy. Beneath the blazing sun a bull is slaughtered for sport, as outside the arena a woman lies dead, murdered by her jealous lover.
Desire and brutality dance hand in hand in this spectacular full-scale production. With its dramatic plot and thrilling score, Carmen is probably the most popular opera in the world.
Director Eleanor Strutt brings a modern sensibility to this production which is set in 1820s Seville. Our Carmen is a woman who transcends her circumstances – she is passionate about taking control of her life and her choices. Carmen’s music is unpredictable, challenging and captivating, so too is her character.
When the cards predict her impending death, she recognises that her fate is bound to Don José’s, and yet she seeks to confront him outside the bullring. Carmen makes no attempt to escape; it is as if she is hurrying along her fate, choosing her moment to die, staying in command to the end.
So, while Don José is unhinged and carrying a knife, does he actually murder her? Or does Carmen manipulate him to fulfil the cards’ prediction? And by doing so, does she also set up his death knowing that he will be executed for her murder? In the end, neither can survive without the other. This is a love that cannot be tamed.
It’s a poignant year for Kenneth Roberts who conducts his final piece for Opera South East before he retires as their conductor and musical director later this year.
Director Eleanor Strutt makes her debut with Opera South East and comes highly regarded having directed an acclaimed and powerful production of Becoming Carmen
for Prologue Opera at The Stables Theatre in Hastings last November.
Opera South East are delighted to welcome a number of new principal artists, including the rising Irish mezzo-soprano, Deirdre Arratoon, taking on the role of Carmen.
Carmen: Deirdre Arratoon
Tickets: £13 - £21
Band A: £21
White Rock Friends: £2 off