Georges Bizet's 'Carmen' with San Francisco Opera

« previous episode | next episode »

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Irene Roberts in the title character in Bizet’s “Carmen.” (Courtesy Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera)

Tune in at 1 pm on Saturday as the San Francisco Opera performs Carmen by Georges Bizet. Carlo Montanaro is conducting.

The ultimate femme fatale returns in a provocative staging by acclaimed director Calixto Bieito. His raw take on Carmen heightens the intense emotions pulsing through this tale of love, lust and murder. The result is a powerful account of a free-spirited woman and her obsessive lover. Be swept into Carmen’s deadly seduction as never before.


Carmen - Irene Roberts
Don José - Brian Jagde
Micaëla - Ellie Dehn
Escamillo - Zachary Nelson

ENSEMBLE: San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus
CONDUCTOR: Carlo Montanaro

Comments [10]

Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Thought the Jose bellowed a bit.

Oct. 22 2016 03:31 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Don Jose got drunk on vinegar rather than wine.

Oct. 22 2016 03:29 PM
steve lerit from Morristown

I like Irene Roberts as Carmen but this updated production is an example of why I now prefer to listen to opera on the radio rather than to attend in person. The car, the car horn sound effect and the other added "goodies" not in Bizet's original score ruin it for me.

Oct. 22 2016 02:09 PM
Anna from New Jersey, Brooklyn

Hello, can the WQXR Android app please be improved?

I cannot enjoy Opera / Classical Music via my phone due to the app crashing every few minutes despite of decent WiFi.

Oct. 22 2016 01:52 PM
Nick from Tampa

Bizet labeled his opera as "opera comique", which was the 19th century term for dialogue between musical numbers. Many confuse this term as meaning "comic opera". Of course, Carmen is anything but a "comic opera", ala Gilbert and Sullivan. Including dialogue was Bizet's original intention. Sadly, after his death, efforts were made to "improve" Carmen for the opera house. None of the added recitatives were his. There is still excellent recordings with original dialogue. My favorite is the Chandos English version.

Oct. 22 2016 01:51 PM

This production is filth. Total destruction and mockery of a classic. As for the opera, we all have been overexposed to it of course. And it's too long, but I can't think of any section that should've been removed, the entire score is a work of art. I love how Carmen sees her own death regardless of how many times she deals the cards, spooky.

Oct. 22 2016 01:21 PM
Madison from Manhattan

Is that the same car in which Gilda's body was found in the Met's Las Vegas Rigoletto?

Nick from Tampa: I,also, saw that Carmen set in the Spanish civil war and the most extraordinary thing about it was that not one soldier,gypsy or factory girl ever mentions that they're in the middle of a horrible civil war nor refers to Francisco Franco who started it! I guess Bizet should've paid more attention to Halevy's libretto.

Oct. 22 2016 11:15 AM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

NYC Opera did Carmen as a gun runner, not sure. Tired of this opera but prefer the film Carmen Jones with Pearl Bailey and Husky Miller rather than
Escamillio with his tight pants. Too much bull and damn gypsies.

Oct. 22 2016 07:01 AM
Richard Pairaudeau from Madrid

Calixto Bieito is an adventurous stage director whose productions always have something to say about the opera. I wish I were able to join audiences in San Francisco to see this exciting production again. In its own times 'Carmen' was an opera which examined the rough and passionate life of poor people, asserting their social and emotional selves in an undisciplined society that cared relatively little about them. Bieito's production, with its beat-up old Mercedes (the cars, not Carmen's friend!!), its cabinas de teléfono, its polyester sports clothes, conveys a message that is essentially faithful to the libretto and music of this powerful opera. Highly recommended!

Oct. 22 2016 03:52 AM
Nick from Tampa

"Provocative staging"! Another example of a director's need to "improve" a classic. Forget about traditional staging, the audiences must have something "new", no matter how weird! I once saw "Carmen" staged during the Spanish civil war with her carrying a machine gun!

Oct. 21 2016 01:56 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.