On January 17, Spain’s Compañía Nacional de Danza will make its Detroit Opera House debut in Carmen, a reimagined version of Georges Bizet’s opera by renowned Swedish choreographer Johan Inger. Inger’s Carmen takes a contemporary look at Prosper Mérimée’s original 1845 story as seen through the eyes of a child; the music includes Rodion Shchedrin’s Carmen Suite, an arrangement of the Bizet original, plus additional electronic music by Marc Álvarez. Inger’s Carmen strips the story to its universal themes of love and passion, emphasizing the impact violence can have on those who witness it and on society as a whole. Lead principal dancer Kayoko Everhart will star in the title role, with lead principal dancer Alessandro Riga as Don José, set design by Curt Allen Wilmer, lighting by Tom Visser, costume design by David Delfín, and dramaturgy by Gregor Acuña-Pohl. The world premiere of Compañía Nacional de Danza’s Carmen took place in 2015 at Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid.
More information about the creative team, dancers, and how to purchase tickets can be found at Detroit Opera’s website.
This will be the only U.S. performance of Inger’s Carmen during the company’s North American tour. The production contains adult themes and is not suitable for children.
“There is a certain mystery within this character,” says Inger. “It could be any kid, it could be Don José when he was a boy, it could be a young Micaela or Carmen and José’s unborn child. It could even be ourselves, with our very first goodness wounded due to a violent experience that, though brief, has had a negative impact in our lives and our ability to interact with others forever.” Inger’s striking choreography for Carmen earned him the Benois de la Danse prize in 2016.
Bizet’s Carmen, first performed in 1875, tells the story of the downfall of soldier Don José and his obsession with the fiery femme fatale Carmen. It is one of the world’s most popular, frequently performed operas, with well-known arias ranging from Carmen’s “Habanera” and the “Toreador Song,” sung by the bullfighter Escamillo. Carmen has been adapted numerous times for multiple formats, including Otto Preminger’s 1954 film Carmen Jones, Peter Brook’s stage adaptation La Tragédie de Carmen (1983), Carlos Saura’s flamenco dance film (1983), Carmen on Ice (1990) with choreography for figure skaters, the film Carmen: A Hip Hopera (2001) starring Beyoncé Knowles, and a ballet Carmen (2010) by the South African dancer/choreographer Dada Masilo.
Compañía Nacional de Danza
Wednesday, Jan 17, 2024, 7:30pm
Detroit Opera House
Program: Johan Inger’s Carmen
Music: Georges Bizet, Rodion Shchedrin, and Marc Álvarez
Run time: 90 minutes
No intermission, no late seating
About Spain’s Compañía Nacional de Danza
Compañía Nacional de Danza, based in Madrid, was founded in 1979 as Ballet Nacional de España Clásico and presents classical, neoclassical and contemporary works. Victor Ullate was the company’s inaugural director; in February 1983, María de Ávila took on the directorship of both the Ballet Nacional Español and the Ballet Clásico Español, placing special emphasis on opening the doors to choreographers such as George Balanchine and Antony Tudor. María de Ávila commissioned choreography by Ray Barra and later offered him the post as full-time director, which he accepted and held until December 1990. Later directors of the company include Maya Plisetskaya (1987-1990), Nacho Duato (1990-2010), Hervé Palito (2010-2011), and José Carlos Martínez (2011-2019). The company’s artistic director since 2019 is Joaquín De Luz, a former principal dancer at New York City Ballet and solo dancer at American Ballet Theater. De Luz’s recent choreography includes Arriaga, a collaborative work created with Mar Aguiló and Pino Alosa, and Passengers Within, focusing on technology, the media, consumerism.