On stage at the Royal Opera House from 5 April to 31 May

Screened live in cinemas worldwide on Wednesday 1 May

«A tragedy linked to man’s immaturity, to Don José’s inability to accept his own reality, eventually leading him to a tragic act, emblematic of his persistent infantilism». This is how stage director Damiano Michieletto describes his new production of Georges Bizet’s Carmen, on stage at the Royal Opera House in London from 5 April 2024. The show, also part of the theatre’s 2023/2024 film season, will be broadcast on 1 May in the cinema theatres of over 50 countries. The Italian director will be back at Covent Garden for the fourth time, following his debut with Guillaume Tell (2015), the diptych Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci (2015) – which received an Olivier Award –, and Don Pasquale (2019). The sets are designed by Paolo Fantin, the costumes are by Carla Teti, the lights are by Alessandro Carletti and the dramaturgy is by Elisa Zaninotto. The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and Royal Opera Chorus are led alternatively by conductors Antonello Manacorda and by Emmanuel Villaume. 

«Carmen deals above all, with freedom – continues Michieletto – On one hand, the female protagonist embodies the idea of absolute freedom, which implies the isolated life of an outsider, like a stray animal. On the other, we have Don José’s mother who tries to bind her son to herself, forcing him to obey, derailing his will and keeping control over him. Although the mother is not present in the story, her strength is manifest through Micaëla’s character. The final tragedy, with Carmen’s femicide, is thus transformed into a metaphorical fight between two opposing existential models».

Leading singers on stage are Aigul Akhmetshina and Vasilisa Berzhanskaya performing the title role, Piotr Beczala and Brandon Jovanovich interpreting Don José, Kostas Smoriginas and Andrii Kymach as Escamillo, Olga Kulchynska, Liana Aleksanyan and Gemma Summerfield as Micaëla. The other cast members are Blaise Malaba and Jamie Woollard (Zuniga), Sarah Dufresne and Isabela Díaz (Frasquita), Gabrielė Kupšytė (Mercédès), Pierre Doyen and Josef Jeongmeen Ahn (Dancaïro), Grisha Martirosyan (Moralès), Vincent Ordonneau and Ryan Vaughan Davies (Remendado).

The show, running until 31 May, is coproduced by The Royal Opera House, the Teatro alla Scala and Madrid’s Teatro Real. 

Damiano Michieletto’s upcoming engagements include a new production of Jules Massenet’s Don Quichotte at the Paris Opéra from 10 May until 11 June.

Carla Monni