Productions > Carmen: The Musical.

About the production

Carmen received its first production at the Theatre de 'lOpera-Comique, Paris, on March 3rd 1875, exactly three months before the death of Bizet at the age of 36. It was premiered in London on June 22nd 1878, in Italian at Her Majesty's theatre. The first production in English was at the same theatre in London on February 5th 1879.

The original libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halevy (Bizet's cousin) is based on the novella by Prosper Merimee. This version is adapted from the original libretto's English version by Hermann Klein and Henry Hersee, the original recitatives as intended by Bizet and the additional accompaniments by Ernest Guiraud, a pupil of Bizet.

The idea behind this particular version was to make Carmen more available to operatic societies who may not have as many singers, particularly men, with the ranges the original opera requires.

It is written in two acts rather than four and there is no recitative - this is replaced by dialogue. Some of the smaller roles, such as the two smuggler leaders are now non-singing and only one major song is omitted (a very difficult five part harmony piece involving the two smugglers.)

There are complete new orchestrations, involving some changes of key to the original, scored for an orchestra of 20 players. In addition, there are a couple of reprises with new lyrics. The only new music appears as a "middle eight" in Micaela's Air. The principals' singing ranges are, however, more or less as the original with Don Hose and Micaela needing to reach a top B.

This version received its first public performance at the Cliffs Pavillion, Westcliff on Sea, Essex, by the Little Theatre Club (who commissioned it) on April 2nd 1990.

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Carmen - Joanna Linford
Don Jose - Alex Broadfield
Escamillo - Steve Gravett
Micaela - Helen Linford
Mercedes - Tarni Morris
Frasquita - Karen Dyer
Morales - Brian Havers

Carmen - Joanna Linford

 

Don Jose - Alex Broadfield

 

Escamillo - Steve Gravett

 

Micaela - Helen Linford

 

Mercedes - Tarni Morris

 

Frasquita - Karen Dyer

 

Morales - Brian Havers

 

 

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