About the Event

Experience opera like never before in this astonishing performance of masterworks by Bizet at London's remarkable Opera Holland Park Theatre.

Carmen does not follow the rules. She lives on impulse — and instinct. When José leaves the army for her, she discovers that her freedom must always come first. Spanish rhythms and seductive songs take a turn for the worse when obsessive jealousy leads to brutal murder. Bizet's opera is as fascinating and provocative as ever.

Georges Bizet
Georges Bizet devoted his relatively short life of 36 years to the musical theatre. The opera Carmen, pearl of his oeuvre, is still one of the most frequently performed operas in the world. He was born in 1838 into a musically educated family – his father was a singing teacher and his mother a professional piano player. At the age of 4, young George could already read notes and play the piano, and six years later he became enrolled at the Paris Conservatory. After finishing his studies, Bizet won the prestigious Prix de Rome for his cantata Clovis et Clotilde, that allowed him to work solely on his own compositions for five years. He spent four rather carefree years in Italy from 1857 to 1860 where he travelled, composed and developed his talent. After coming back to Paris, he faced struggles and found it very difficult to achieve recognition for his music. In order to make a living, he gave private lessons, composed light entertaining music and made arrangements of piano works by other composers. In fact, he could have easily become a successful pianist as he was a virtuoso piano player and once impressed Franz Liszt himself with the performance of one of Liszt’s piano compositions. But Georges Bizet did not look for a way to make easy money and was adamant about his intention to only compose music.

In 1872 he wrote two operas, Djamileh and L’Arlesienne, which were received very coldly but now are considered to be a representation of Bizet’s artistic maturity. Soon before his death in 1875, Carmen premiered in the Opera Comique, but the audience’s verdict was rather negative. Never having witnessed public acclaim during his life, George Bizet now is one of the most famous opera composers in history.

Cast / Production

Lee Reynolds Conductor
Sonia Ben‐Santamaria Associate Conductor (conducting on 12 and 14 June)
Cecilia Stinton Director
takis Designer
Johanne Jensen Lighting Designer
Isabel Baquero Choreographer
Richard Harker Chorus Master

Kezia Bienek Carmen
Oliver Johnston Don José
Alexander Robin Baker Don José (Performing on 12 and 14 June)
Thomas Mole Escamillo
Alison Langer Micaëla
Natasha Agarwal Frasquita
Ellie Edmonds Mercédès
Jacob Phillips Zuniga
Jevan McAuley Moralès
Themba Mvula Le Dancaïre
Mike Bradley Le Remendado

Gift card