— At the Festival

Published on June 19 2017

Dmitri Tcherniakov shines light on Carmen

Dmitri Tcherniakov
© Patrick Berger / ArtcomArt

This is a much anticipated event in the 2017 lyrical summer: one of the greatest stage directors of our time is revisiting the most famous opera – Dmitri Tcherniakov tackles Carmen. Rumours are already flying, the buzz is intensifying. How will the Russian artist, who won over the world with his staging of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegine and provoked passionate debates everywhere, tackle Bizet’s masterpiece?

Do not believe the rumours. The Festival d’Aix is the only reliable source. Today, it sheds some light on the note of intent that Dmitri Tcherniakov signed for the Festival programme:
“Today, we need to believe in this story and understand how it relates to us. This performance will speak about our equals: emotionally disillusioned, nourished with bitter experiences, filled with despair and irony. […] Modern man still prefers to stay in his comfort zone, to not be overcome with unbridled passion, to avoid the emotional drowning which has befallen famous historical characters since time immemorial. There are passion-filled narratives, and there is the reality that, for many of us, consists of habits, repetitive events, frustrations, boredom, emptiness, etc. The inability to feel anything, to live the present moment to the full. The characters in our performance are not exactly the heroes of the opera
Carmen, but in meeting up inside this famous story, they will gradually be carried away by it and they will start to live it intensely. The story of Carmen will thus become the best kind of therapy for them.”

Let’s add that Dmitri Tcherniakov’s performance, which enshrines the story of Carmen in today’s world, comprises Bizet’s full original score as published by musicologist Fritz Œser, with the spoken dialogues rewritten by the Russian director. In this way, not only does the performance restore energy to a well-known story, but it also pays homage to Carmen as a popular opera, a mythical character and cultural fantasy, making each spectator a potential Don José, charmed and fascinated by the captivating Carmencita.