Music Georges Bizet
Libretto Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy
First performance Paris, 1875
Bizet’s masterpiece of sexual obsession and self-destruction is enduringly popular for many reasons, not the least of which is its brilliantly characterful score. It’s the story of a woman on the margins of society, driven by a fierce, uncompromising desire for personal liberty, and of a man who, in the grip of sexual obsession, tries to own her.
The opera’s frank sensuality, stark emotional realism and brutal violence outraged many in its first audiences, and it was widely condemned for its perceived immorality. Almost 150 years later, Carmen presents new challenges to contemporary sensibilities, whilst Bizet’s music – overflowing with passion, colour, energy and unforgettable melody – continues to mesmerise.
Edward Dick directs our first Carmen in ten years following his triumphant Tosca for the Company in 2018.
‘The production’s real strengths … lie in Dick’s understanding of the psychological dynamics between the protagonists … It’s compelling stuff, disquieting, creepy and exciting in equal measure.’ Tim Ashley, The Guardian, on Tosca, 2018
Carmen Chrystal E. Williams
Don José Antoine Bélanger
Micaela Camila Titinger Autumn
Alison Langer Winter
Escamillo Phillip Rhodes Autumn
Gyula Nagy Winter
Frasquita Amy Freston
Mercedes Helen Évora
Morales Christopher Nairne Autumn
James Davies Winter
Remendado Stuart Laing
Dancairo Dean Robinson
Zuniga Matthew Stiff
Conductor Garry Walker (Autumn), Antony Hermus (Winter)
Director Edward Dick
Set Designer Colin Richmond
Costume Designer Laura Hopkins
Music George Frideric Handel
First performance London, 1735
On an island paradise, a young man, Ruggiero, has fallen under the spell of a woman, Alcina, who is experiencing real love for the very first time. But on Alcina’s island nothing is as it seems, for she is an enchantress who transforms her discarded lovers into non-human form, and her island is a barren wasteland whose apparent beauty is maintained only by her powers of illusion. When Bradamante, Ruggiero’s fiancée, arrives on the island intent on reclaiming her lost love, Alcina’s magic is tested to breaking point.
This extraordinary tale of deception and disguise, of love and loss, of enchantment and illusion, is told in some of Handel’s most richly inventive music, such as Ruggiero’s regretful farewell to the beauty of Alcina’s island, ‘Verdi prati’.
Our first ever production of one of Handel’s most popular operas is directed by Tim Albery, responsible for a sumptuous revival of Giulio Cesare for Opera North in 2019. It reunites him with Baroque specialist Laurence Cummings, who led the Company’s highly acclaimed production of Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea in 2014.
Alcina Máire Flavin
Ruggiero Patrick Terry
Bradamante Joanna Motulewicz
Morgana Fflur Wyn
Oronte to be announced
Melissa Claire Pascoe
Conductor Laurence Cummings
Director Tim Albery
Set and Costume Designer Hannah Clark
Lighting Designer Thomas C. Hase
Video Designer Ian Galloway
Supported by the Friends of Opera North