The Met: Live in HD Bizet's Carmen
1 p.m. ET / Approx. runtime: 3:41 [1 Intermission]
Louis Langrée; Aleksandra Kurzak (Micaëla), Clémentine Margaine (Carmen), Roberto Alagna (Don José), Alexander Vinogradov (Escamillo)
Mezzo-soprano Clémentine Margaine reprises her remarkable portrayal of opera’s ultimate seductress, a triumph in her 2017 debut performances, with impassioned tenors Yonghoon Lee and Roberto Alagna as her lover, Don José. Omer Meir Wellber and Louis Langrée share conducting duties for Sir Richard Eyre’s powerful production, a Met favorite since its 2009 premiere.
Georges Bizet (1838–1875) was known as a brilliant student and prodigy, but his works only found lasting success after his untimely death—most notably Carmen, which premiered three months before he died. Librettist Henri Meilhac (1831–1897) would subsequently provide the libretto for Massenet’s Manon (1884). His collaborator on Carmen was Ludovic Halévy (1834–1908), the nephew of composer Jacques Fromental Halévy (creator of the opera La Juive and Bizet’s father-in-law). The libretto is based on a novella by Prosper Mérimée (1803–1870), a French dramatist, historian, and archaeologist.
The opera takes place in and around Seville, a city that, by the time Carmen was written, had already served many operatic composers as an exotic setting conducive to erotic intrigues and turmoil (Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Verdi’s La Forza del Destino, among others). The hometown of Don Juan, the city also inspired Mozart with Don Giovanni, and Beethoven used Seville as the setting for a study of marital fidelity in Fidelio.