“As director Barrie Kosky said in a recent interview with the New York Times, ‘The history of opera is a history of misogyny’.
More often than not when I read about Carmen, the language used to describe the protagonist shocks me: the calculating femme-fatale, the temptress who manipulates her prey, Don Jose leading to his unfortunate downfall. Instead, in this production I chose to explore Carmen’s story as an example of domestic violence – a depiction of manipulation, possessiveness and aggression - with a protagonist who we witness become isolated and fearful.
Through my work with Manchester Rape Crisis, I’ve seen first hand the impact of domestic violence of survivors. The message we intend to get across tonight is that violence against women and girls does not reflect on the victim, no matter how flirtatious, sexual or seductive they are.
I have placed our Carmen in 1920s New York City: a world of boxing matches, flappers, and moonshine, where gangsters not gypsies scheme to smuggle illegal alcohol in and out of speakeasies, Toreadors box in underground matches, and sexually liberated singers and dancers are able to smoke and drink in public.”
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