Only one lyric tenor on the scene today has the honeyed tone and ingratiating style to make comparisons to Pavarotti and Gigli seems serious, and it is Calleja, the man from Malta, who... is now maturing into an artist of the first rank." - New Yorker
- Opéra Bastille, Paris, France
- November 24, 2022
At the premiere of Carmen on March 3rd 1875 at the Opéra? Comique, the audience, shocked by its “Castillian wantonness”, cried scandal! Georges Bizet, who died three months later, never knew that his opera was to become one of the most widely performed in the world. Although the success of this work can be attributed to its unforgettable melodies, it also owes much to the independent character of the celebrated cigarette factory worker: “Carmen will never give in. Born free, she will die free”, sings the heroine to Don José at the end of the opera. Her irrepressible liberty, coupled with the necessity to live on a knife’s edge, ever more intensely, is captured by Calixto Bieito’s production as by none other. From Mérimée’s original character, Bieito’s Carmen retains her profoundly Iberian contours and the ardent temperament of a woman living off small?time trafficking. This rebel, however, is a thoroughly contemporary creature. A tantalising and indomitable vamp, she lives life in the fast lane, in an urgent desire to fully exist.