Operatic Texts: Ours, Yours, and Mine

Huebner, Steven

A Carmen without Mercédès, Frasqita, Le Remendado, Le Dancaïre, without cigarette girls and gypsies. A Carmen where Carmen's husband Garcia (from Prosper Mérimée's antecedent novella) is included and gets killed by Don José-as does Zuniga, who is merely threatened in Bizet's opera as customarily performed. A catfight between Carmen and Micaëla, a slash across the face. A dirt performing space surrounded on three sides by viewers. Sixteen musicians who accompany the singing-actors in a reduced, reorchestrated, cut, and rearranged version of Bizet's music. Such was director Peter Brook's La Tragédie de Carmen (with collaboration from set designer Jean-Claude Carriere and composer Marius Constant) performed with much success at the Bouffes du Nord in Paris, and also at Lincoln Center, in the early 1980s. Having attended the production, I can attest to its dramatic efficacy.


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August 18, 2022