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Carmen

Ballet by Johan Inger

With music by Rodion Shchedrin, Georges Bizet and Marc Álvarez. Recommended for ages: 8 and over

Carmen became famous as an opera heroine. At the end of the 19th century the character of Carmen put an entirely new kind of woman and with her a completely new form of loving relationship on stage. Until then, especially in the opéra comique, women appeared as men’s playthings, suffering and steadfast in their moral sincerity, but Carmen is a female character who reveals an almost scandalous form of behaviour; she lives and above all loves intensely and entirely according to her own rules. Fearless and freedom-loving, Carmen is the architect of her own life and relationships and in the end she has to die because others cannot tolerate her freedom.  

In the foreground of Johan Inger’s full-length narrative ballet stands the familiar drama of love and jealousy. But the «Carmen» ballet by the Swede who choreographed «Peer Gynt» for Theater Basel in 2017 is not only based on the story of his female protagonist but rather concentrates, like Prosper Mérimée’s literary source material, on Don José. Incapable of accepting his lover’s free spirit, this love of his leads him down the path to an emotional hell: jealousy, passion and revenge dominate his thoughts and his actions. «The first time I read this story I noticed that most of all it is about violence», says Inger. And his ballet takes a clear stance on physical violence and its consequences. He also allows the proceedings to be observed by a young boy, thus inviting the audience to discover the principal character anew through the eyes of a child.

Inger’s «Carmen» mainly uses music by Rodion Shchedrin. The composer who was born in Moscow in 1932 created a new arrangement of Bizet’s opera music as a full length ballet for his wife Maya Plissezkaya, a long-time prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theatre. Inger will also use additional music by Marc Álvarez in his choreography. Inger employs the technical resonances of the musical numbers that have been written and recorded by the Spanish composer especially for this piece to sustain the atmosphere for the introspective sequences of Don José.

Johan Inger won the celebrated Prix Benois de la Danse for his «Carmen» in 2016.

(World premiere: Compañía Nacional de Danza, Madrid,
9th April 2015)


Partner of Ballett Theater Basel:

Preisstufe 10 (von 30.– bis 135.–)

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