GP at the Met: Carmen
Preview the Opera

Richard Eyre, the renowned British director of theater and film, explores the passionate drama of Bizet’s Carmen and the power of her desires in his new production at the Metropolitan Opera, which premieres on THIRTEEN’S Great Performances at the Met series. “Her sexuality is a life force, it’s a defining force,” he explains. “Carmen is about sex, violence, and racism—and its corollary: freedom.” As for her portrayal of the free spirited gypsy, Elīna Garanča says, “You don’t get to develop productions of Carmen from scratch too often. Carmen is defined by her unwillingness to settle. She is constantly searching and never satisfied. It may be sex or, more broadly, approval by men. It could also just be a zest for life, and in that she is uncompromising.” Under the baton of acclaimed young Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Garanča is joined by Roberto Alagna as the obsessed soldier Don José, Barbara Frittoli as his devoted girlfriend Micaëla, and Teddy Tahu Rhodes as the toreador Escamillo. Hosted by celebrated American soprano Renée Fleming, Carmen airs on Great Performances at the Met in primetime on THIRTEEN Thursday, May 13 at 9 p.m. and on PBS stations around the country on Sunday, May 16 at noon (check local listings).

Watch a preview of the opera:

With more than 30 years of experience, Eyre is one of the world’s most respected directors of stage and screen. From 1988-1997, he served as artistic director of Britain’s Royal National Theatre. While at the National, Eyre produced more than 100 productions and directed 27 plays, including Guys and Dolls (Olivier, Evening Standard, and Critics Circle Awards for Best Director); Richard III with Ian McKellen, Tom Stoppard’s The Invention Of Love (Evening Standard Award); King Lear with Ian Holm (winner of Evening Standard, Olivier and Critics Circle Awards) which he also directed for BBC TV and WGBH (Peabody Award); Amy’s View with Judi Dench, and Absence of War, which he also directed for BBC TV. Eyre’s film credits include the Oscar-winning Iris, featuring Judi Dench and Kate Winslett, as well as The Ploughman’s Lunch, Stage Beauty, Notes on a Scandal, and most recently The Other Man. On Broadway, he has directed Vincent in Brixton, The Crucible, and the long-running Mary Poppins. He was knighted in 1997. Carmen is Eyre’s third opera production, having previously directed La Traviata for the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and Le Nozze di Figaro at the Aix-en-Provence Festival. Great Performances at the Met: Carmen is the seventh of 10 productions airing during the 2009-2010 season. The performance is sung in French with English surtitles. Eyre makes his Met Opera debut directing the new production, as does set and costume designer Rob Howell. Peter Mumford designs the lighting; Christopher Wheeldon creates the choreography for the new staging.

Great Performances is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, public television viewers and PBS. Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home-builder®.

For the Met, Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.

  • Mike in Manhattan

    Great production. WHERE can I find a complete cast list, please? This little blurb only lists four of the singers!

  • Michelle

    This was such a wonderful performance. I’ve been checking listings for this airing on PBS, but nothing is coming up for the 16th at noon for this. Is that a mistake?

  • Ally

    This was a great performance. I am going to watch it again tomorrow.
    @Mike in Manhattan – you can probably find it on Met website, check their past HD broadcasts. This was part of their 2009-2010 season.
    @Michelle – it is tomorrow at 12:30PM in my area (NY) on WNET/Thirteen and at 3:30PM on 21. You could probably mention where you are in your note, maybe they’ll respond.

    @PBS – Thank you so very much for this series. It’d be even greater if we had more of this type of programming. BBC in the UK has “Passion for opera” month with many opera productions and programs dedicated to opera. It’d be wonderful if we could have it in the US as well.

  • ann reid

    It’s on right now- GLORIOUS!

  • Queeny

    I’m In San Francisco CA USA on May 16. It shows at noon here. I hope there are English subtitles – they’d help me enjoy it more. I’m looking forward to it!

  • Judi

    Just saw Carmen with Elina and Roberto. Wonderful, but who is singing Escamillio? thanks,

  • victoria rodriguez

    Is there anyway to be informed when and what time the Opera will be on in advance. I can not remember to check daily. I no longer get the guide as I felt my small donation did not warrant it. Hopefully it can be done either daily through e mail. Certainly would be great.

    Thank you for allowing the movie theaters to now show the Opera, I feel I am so lucky to live in a town that presents it., I try to attend everyone one. mAgain Thank you so much.

  • Malcolm Brookes

    Please be generous and give us a complete cast listing

  • Sharon Staley

    Watched it earlier today. It was superb!!!

  • Walter Yao

    I am in San Francisco area. It was a great performance show today. But I have missed part of the performance. Is there any rebrocast in the near future in SF area?

  • humberto

    Is there another rebroadcast of Carmen in Miami, Fl. After todayperformance I would like to see it again complete (May 16/2010) I just missed the first 40 minutes.ThaNK YOU

  • Rosalie

    Fabulous. Will there be a video available?

  • CLAIRE MENDEZ

    Thanks so much for the beautiful transmission of CARMEN. I was privileged to watch it on Wednesday and today, Sunday. It is the best Carmen I have ever seen. Marlenyn Horne used to be my favorite but I am crazy about Elina Garanza, she has a magnificent voice and her performance was absolutely amazing. She has it all: beauty, talent, stamina and lots of glamour and knows how to pulll it all together. Can you please tell me : is she French.? I know the other main performers who were also magnificent but Elina was news to me. Thanks again.
    Claire

  • Diksum

    Elina Garanca is Latvian.

  • leslie ann seegobin

    Fantastic!! I really enjoyed Carmen, so much passion! It made my weekend super. I live on a tiny Caribbean island, so opportunities to see live performances like this one, are nil. Thank you PBS.

  • Dominic Rappazzo

    Wonderful! I saw it in January at the cinema and could only watch Act I yesterday. Why are these opera broadcast never repeated some other day? Please try to do so. And keep those operas coming; there still are many music lovers out there starving for great music!

  • Michelle W.

    I’ve been enjoying opera at the Met since1965 and this is the most passionate, best sung, danced and acted Carmen
    in my experience. Bravi a tutti!
    When can I buy a DVD?

  • Amparo Pikarsky

    Wow.
    Splendid.
    Thank you!

  • Virginia

    Bravi! Wow, I surprised by my reaction to the performance. It was wonderful. I’ve seen Carmen in person at the Met and other venues, but this was the best. Please keep these broadcasts coming. Thanks PBS.

  • Kelly

    I too live on a tiny Caribbean island, Leslie-small world. I watch PBS all the time and I LOVED Carmen. Will it be available on DVD? Please play it again! THANKS!

  • Lola Maskovsky

    I barely moved for the three hours while Elina Garanca and Roberto Alagna performed “Carmen”. I really would love to purchase the DVD, if it exists.If you have info about this,please let me know.Thanks.

  • Mark

    Wonderful performance — where is the DVD????

  • Barbara

    Will someone please tell me who sang the role of Zuniga in the May 16h broadcast. I cannot find a complete cast list anywhere.

  • Shirley

    My first exposure was as a child, Carmen was Rise Stevens in the late 40:s. I was hooked and have seen many more since then.
    This was by far the most well rounded,exquisite performance.High energy, and the passion..Oh My!!
    Please tell me you will re broadcast it and when will the DVD be released?
    Yes ,there are still many among us who are starved for the classics,but are not always able to attend a live performance of Opera or symphony. Please continue to keep us fed.

  • Sami

    I saw this when they broadcasted it to movie theaters. I have since become hoooked on opera. Strange for an 18 year old.
    From what I’ve heard, a DVD of this performance will be released June 1st. I don’t know exactly who will be selling it, but the Met most likely will be.
    Elina Garanca was absolutely fantastic in this performance.
    I bought the score to Carmen and my summer project is to analyze it. I have to get started :P

  • Janet French

    Beautiful and amazing–just didn’t quit from beginning to end! At conclusion it said to go to pbs.org and check out Performances at the Met. I was hoping to find listing of additional upcoming Met performances but can’t find. Is there such a thing??

  • Joan

    I don’t care for opera but I LOVED this performance of “Carmen”. It has spoiled me for any other production of it, however.

  • Gary C.

    I never knew opera could be like this. People who saw this in person must have needed assistance to leave the theater. I was riveted to the screen for the whole performance. I must see this opera again and soon. Please tell me you will rebroadcast or release DVD. This will probably cause me to become an opera buff.

  • Tom Betts

    I found this half way through the broadcast.. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE play it again. What I saw was fantastic!!!

  • John
  • Al Cook

    We must have a rebroadcast and a DVD of this performance. Please tell me when.

    Al

  • steven

    only saw the second half — magnificent! Elena Park is the greatest Carmen I have ever seen. PLEASE — WHEN WILL IT BE AIRED AGAIN??? If not scheduled, please show it again…

  • TIM MELLIN

    When will the broadcast be in the L.A. area? KCET sometimes delays the Great Perfs playbacks by a month or so, or they juggle the order of play . I wish the Met would make these available on DVD. The Met has them “on demand” on their website, but I don’t have a computer, and I like to watch on wider screen in my TV room at home, slow, stop action, playback, replay, study the camera angles and production techniques, etc. Perhaps either the MET, or Great Perfs, will make these available on DVD. I hope so. I heard Ms. Garanca’s funny and interesting intermission radio interview a few weeks prior to the Live Theater Met broadcast. (on my car radio Live Sirius/XM.)

  • Theresa Mendoza

    Absolutely fantastic!! I tivoed the showing and must have re-watched it 10 times. Thank you PBS!! The singers…all of them, the dancers, the rest of the cast were all wonderful. The entire production was the most thrilling I have ever experienced. Please, please – rebroadcast it. Our society needs it – to feed our soul!!

  • Drew

    I enjoyed this on the weekend it first aired and then again when it was rebroadcast over the subsequent week. I have never really “gotten” opera, perhaps because I’ve never been properly introduced to the form. But I’ve always liked the music to “Carmen,” and I found this an engaging performance in all its aspects. Elina Garanča was outstanding, the supporting players effective, and the costumes and set design appealing. My thanks to everyone who made this broadcast possible.

  • JonB

    recorded the May 16th broadcast on Comcast Southfield, MI, but the DVR lost the entire 4th act. PLEASE rebroadcast or make available on DVD. This was fantastic but I need to see the 4th act.

  • Felix Blumenfeld

    I watched Carmen and was very much disappointed that most of the arias were marred by intermittent technical problems with noise (on Mountain Lake). I very much hope that PBS will broadcast it again to make up for these problems. Otherwise, this was a magnificent performance with an ideal Carmen.

  • JayS

    I recorded the performance off of MPT in the Washington, DC, area, missed the first few minutes because it started before the stated time. I hope it will be rebroadcast so that I can see the entire production.

    Otherwise, I thought it was a great and will watch more Great Performances in the future.

  • Leo Heiden

    Keith Miller. He was also the Mandarin in Turandot.

  • EMAST

    The DVD is coming out around August 20. Can’t wait. This was a stupendous production, and I can’t wait to have the luxury of watching again and again anytime I want to! :)

  • EMAST

    He was also in Armida. He was interviewed during one of the intermission breaks.

  • EMAST

    Just wanted to say thank you for broadcasting Great Performances at The Met. It is so wonderful to have the opportunity to see these wonderful operas.

  • Peter Maydanis

    Here in the Phoenix, AZ area the feed from the newwork ceased abruptly two or three minutes into the final act, just before the bull ring scene was to appear. A call to our local station, KAET-TV reflects that there was an error by the network in scheduling. There will be no repeat, not even at 2 or 3 a.m. when the station is playing all the repeats from pledge week and so forth. I am not a happy camper about it and I will be even a more unhappy camper if the network pulls the same trick on us on June 19th with Simon Boccanegra since it is scheduled only for 150 minutes and I know darned well it is at least a three hour opera. We’ll see, will we not?

    P.S. Some petty cdarping:– why opera just on Sunday morning? Some of us go to church, you know. Sunday afternoons are only good for nature shows? Worst of all, no repeats of the Met performances at our local station at any hour.

  • Holly

    I too just watched my dvr’d version of Carmen, and it cut out at the same time as Peter’s. I am very very frustrated, as there is no dvd copy I can even rent at Netflix to finish this up. I would love this show to be repeated – the full show – so I can finish watching it. I have CableOne, so I don’t know where the error happened, but I’m not happy either way.

  • Brendan

    The Deutsche Grammophon site lists it as a 2 DVD set coming August 20, 2010

    http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/cat/single?PRODUCT_NR=0734581

  • Dale M. Holm

    I saw the production of Carmen last night and was spellbound. The subtitles helped to understand the story better. I have loved the opera music for over 60 years, but the video production was really special and I would like to get a copy. PBS and the met should be proud and please make copies available. All of the cast were exceptional, but Carmen really got to me.

  • Marg Edwards

    The baritone who covered Kwieczen as Escamillo was NZealander Teddy Tahu Rhodes, one of my favourites from Opera Australia. I was delighted to see him perform so well when I saw the opera here in Wagga Wagga, NSW. Garanca just blew me away, she was so wonderful!!! The best Carmen I have ever seen!!!

  • Marg Edwards

    Deutsche Grammophon is putting out a DVD soon. Look up their website for details. I have already ordered a copy from my favourite music store here in good ole Oz!!!

  • Marg Edwards

    Teddy Tahu Rhodes, from New Zealand, who made his name in Opera Australia. He is gorgeous!!

  • Anna

    This rendition of Bizet’s “Carmen” is very original artistically, tantalizing and definitelly bold! The portrayal of physical sexuality was quite striking in this performance, which I believe is in this case an excessive expression of acting, because it momentarily diverts the listener from the voices of the singers! Modern opera is veering too much towards the “movie” character of stage acting, where now you have to have overpowering realism to convey the message. One should come to the opera principally to “listen” because the comedy or drama of it, is best conveyed through the voice of the singer(s), the music and the libretto. I have seen Migenes/P. Domingo (1984 movie “Carmen”), and Waltraud Meyer/Domingo (1997 at the Met) in the rendition of “Carmen”, and have seen Maria Callas as well. Somehow in my opinion, Elina Garanca is amazingly provocative as Carmen, being not only suitably beautiful but also seductive and challenging. The singer has a voice that commands powerful presence on the stage, being pleasing, rich and quite emotionally evocative within the moment, but still needs to improve on lyricism and dramatic refinement. Just as Migenes who was excellent in presenting the character of Carmen as flirtatious, temperamental and fiery, and Waltraud Meyer , with her dramatic and rich mezzo voice conveing the inner turmoil of Carmen, Garanca’ s acting talent certainly shows great promise in this role. I wish her the best in her future performances and am looking forward to see her in other roles. Thank you. Anna.

  • Pat

    Watched “Carmen” today on PBS in Bakersfield, CA. It was wonderful. 4 hours of total rapture. Wonderful singers, dancers, sets, and interpretations of each role. I cried. Thank you. The subtitles in English were just right. I will purchase a recording as soon as it is available.

  • Anita Filip

    Is there anyway to buy a copy of the tape of the recent Great Performances production of Carmen? Hope so.
    Thanks,
    Anita

  • P. Berzins

    Elīna Garanča is not French. She is Latvian – one of several young Latvian opera stars having recently made successful Met debuts, like the amazing Maija Kovalevska, Aleksandrs Antonenko, Kristīne Opolais and soon to come Marina Rebeka, not to mention the conductor “wunderkind” Andris Nelsons. Their homeland little Latvia with its capital Riga are super proud these days. P.B.

  • Paul Rogers

    Sami:

    Do you know how I can obtain the English subtitles used in the new 2010 HD production of Carmen? I am particularly interested in the poetic language of Act I. I would be grateful for any help you can provide. The Met said the subtitles and “not available for distribution.” I am not interested in “distribution;” I merely want to recapture three or four lines from the scene where Carmen is taunting the solders in the prison as some of the most powerful poetry about love that I have ever heard.

    Paul

  • Paul Rogers

    Theresa:

    Would you be so kind as to record the English subtitles from the scene in Act I where Carmen is taunting the soldiers in the prison about what love is. There are three or four lines that run something to the effect of: “Love is like an orphan who never follows the rules. When you think you have found it, it isn’t there; when you give up on finding it, there it is. You have to give up on finding love in order to ever receive it.” If you would simply write down the lines at that point in Act I and email them to me, I would be immensely grateful. The Met has told me that the subtitles “are not available for distribution.”

    Thanks so much. If anyone else can help, i would be grateful to them too.

    Paul Rogers

  • Paul Rogers

    My last reply deleted my email address in the body of my remarks. My snail mail address is 28 Doverbrook Road, Chicopee, MA 01022-1161, and my phone number is 413-593-1095.

    Thanks.

    Paul Rogers

  • Mary Virginia

    This was stunning and I could not take my eyes off the TV during the performance. Will certainly buy the DVD of this “Great Performance”.

  • Betty

    I have heard the music from “Carmen” many, many times and so it is very familiar, but I haver never seen a production. I was so privileged to see PBS’ production of it tonight, here in the midwest! It was one of the most moving, beautiful, wonderful performances I have ever seen! The subtitles made it much more interesting. But mostly I was enthralled by the artistry, both dramatic and vocal, of Elina and Roberto. It was truly amazing and I thank you for this. I’ll be sure to get the DVD so I can enjoy it again and again.

  • Rhoda Greenstone

    Just was fortunate enough to see Garanca’s Carmen and was enthralled. Because of all the junk thrown on for Pledge Break (which seems like every other week lately), I heard no ads or promos about this magificent production that actually had me gasping at times & in tears at others. That means I missed perhaps the opening half hour. Only hope there will be a replay in the next few days (I’ll scour the local PBS stations’ schedules).

    Not only was the singing and musical direction outstanding, the ballets took my breath away. The MOST satisfying televised opera I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch. What a marvelous gift!

    Rhoda Greenstone, Long Beach, CA

  • SteveG

    I’m an opera novice but I saw an ad for Carmen and started watching and couldn’t turn it off. The leads were great and I thought B. Frittoli was really special.

  • James Weidaw

    I have often found opera hard to watch, although I love the music. I think this is because in my previous experiences the presentations were so much about the music and much less about the story and acting.

    Carmen changed everything! The musical talent was incredible, but I loved the way the story was presented and acted. It was enthralling.

    One question. how does one sing like Garanca, when lying on her back?

  • Chuck Mertz

    Was this Carmen or Les Miserables? Beautiful voices and outstanding orchestra and musical director, beautiful dance but really now was this set in Spain or in Germany after WW2? Why the bombed-out set? Why the drab costumes? Why the straggly hair? Why the chain link fence? Why have the supposed beautiful cigarette girls coming out of the ’sewer’ looking like haggared dirty washer women? What man in his right mind would want those women? Where were the beautiful Spanish senoritas? Women of Spain never looked like these hags. Why the lecherous soldiers? Very poor directing with some characters twiddling their fingers. Where was the teen-aged Carmen? Where was the flirt? The Coquette? Why did Carmen have to keep spreading her legs? Come on now. All of that 21st century sex and lechery was not necessary. I found this production to be disappointing, not because of the music but because of the really poor directing, costumes and set.

  • Devin Nielsen

    Ah! I woke at 3:00 a.m. to Carmen and watch breathlessly two mornings ago. Much to my despair, the last act was cut out! I am still reeling from it!

  • Ingrid Emmert

    Completely agree with you! Just finished watching it on TV (08/08 – 3pm). Loved the voices. Disliked the sets and costumes. Which era were they from? And why (last act) were the children waving placards with a tri color ribbons
    (red/white/green) from Italy?
    Wish there were more opera on TV.

  • Theresa

    I assume it;s “La Habanera” you are referring to. Here is the website with the French and English translation:
    http://classicalmusic.about.com/od/opera/qt/habaneralyrics.htm

  • Janis Karps

    Thanks for showing Carmen on PBS. Elina Garanca was excellent as Carmen, and she IS from Latvia.

  • Alec Clement

    Caught most of this performance and thought it excellent. Noone however, mentions the choral work which was superb–Bravo Donald Palumbo–Having performed in a chorus during a concert presentation of Carmen can vouch for the difficulty and all we had to do was stand there!

  • Monica Spiese

    Just finished watching and was knocked absolutely speechless! Hoping to find the DVD…

  • Fritz MIlas

    All the comments rave about the PBS airing of Carmen and you can include me. I’ m not much of an opera fan but once I started watching the play I couldn’t turn it off. I was absolutely mezmerized by Carmen. She was spell binding and I want to get the dvd of this production. What else is there to say than “thank you PBS” for such an exquisite show. Elina, I bow to you, you were superb!!!! Long Beach, Calif.

  • http://foxstats.com Beryl Louris

    For some reason only fifty percent of the post is being displayed, is it my web browser or the internet website?

  • Austin Pearce

    I love Elina’s Carmen!

  • Austin Pearce

    Why don’t you care for opera?

  • Catherine Dolph

    Will you ever show this on PBS again? I would love to see this production again. Roberto Alagna was wonderful. Not only can he sing…his acting was great. Elina was stuning. Please air this again on PBS!

  • Andy Roo

    http://www.metoperashop.org/product/detail/1000005634.aspx

    That is the direct link to the Met’s online shop where you can buy the DVD set. Enjoy. =)

  • http://gordenbrownsleadership.webs.com/ Lynn Matheney

    you should update more often great read, also like the design of the blog.

  • http://takeleadership.onsugar.com/ Warner Parkison

    great information, thanks. hope you add some more posts soon.

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