Carmen, it’ s no longer a character, it’s a myth.

You programme Carmen – in Opera or Dance – and you are sure to get a packed theatre .

What no one says – except for some very, very confidential studies – and what everyone who works in the performing arts knows – is that the audience, present in large numbers – is old (not to say very old). These are great shows for the headstrong.
I love the elderly – that’s not the point.
The concern is the sustainability of the entertainment world.
Bringing in young people… that’s another story.

So when we programmed the opera Carmen, we sold out in June for May of the following year.
But not a ticket under 30 years old. No one.
Our average age of the audience was a good 72.

Most of my work in the theatre is fishing for young audiences.
With the help of my classmate Pierre, and with Jackie’s programming, we decided to freeze seats and reserve them for teenagers.

Then we had to go and get them: an opera on Saturday night? Are you kidding? Or on Sunday afternoon?
An opera, too? Something for old people?

As a result, we bravely went fishing for young people.

We started by using Stromae.

Obviously, since Stromae has Twitter as a major topic, and Stromae is adored…it definitely worked.
They were ready to listen to the original.

Elina Garanca is so beautiful … the MET staged it so well … like resisting?
Well “it” resists badly.
She is still very very beautiful. But she’s naughty with boys.

But “it” still resists. The seats and the heart for the Opera are not yet conquered. It’s too fast.

Thanks to Stomae, we were able to launch a challenge: “musical loop” with a rapper, taking a loop from Carmen.

It started to work.
We proposed poster creation workshops: the idea was to imagine, from the pitch, the best poster for Carmen.
That worked too.

We worked with music and literature teachers: the idea was to make Carmen’s story known, and to make them dream of the beautiful gypsy girl.

On this point, we have an advantage in Perpignan.
Our city is a historic city of Gypsies, they are the heart and soul if you like.
So obviously, for once a Gypsy is the lead.
That a gypsy girl makes all the men around her rage with love.
That she is the one who asserts her freedom to the end – no, she is not a submissive woman. Yes, she loves who she wants.
She is not even afraid to die.

We didn’t hesitate to insist on it.
We used it all: the gypsies pay extraordinary attention to music and dance, and we got them dancing and playing.
And from Carmen, we were able to create a whole whirlwind that allowed us to recuperate not only teenagers – but also their families, who ended up wanting to come and see the so beautiful Carmen.

This year, we should have continued with the Ballet of Carmen – and there we were already leaving with a much more mixed and younger audience.

Mariinsky Opening Gala 2013 – This version is…. wonderful !


That’s it – it’s all the tricks, all the connections that make you want to know – and then love.
You can’t imagine how proud we are, Pierre and I, when in the theatre, we are greeted by young people who remember us and who tell us that it’s because of these ideas that they now come to spend time in the theatre.

By the way, you will have noticed that there is no contemporary work that will have the success of a Carmen
Wondering why it might be useful if we want to get into the production of live and virtual shows.
The answer is not very difficult to find: put out a call for a show with a real narrative – with a real great story – and you will have a much better chance of being successful again in theatres

Well – and now I’m coming to the end… so yes, I admit: I still haven’t managed to write the wonderful article on baroque music.
I have the drafts.
I have the references.
I even have under my nose the splendid photograph of this splendid Czech violinist (a guy! a beauty – perfect, dark, a girl’s dream).
I’m totally stuck on baroque music. I give myself a week before giving up the fight.
On the other hand, telling me I had to write this reminded me of everything we’d achieved for Carmen – and all the things you have to put in place when you want to revive live performance.

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Featured Image : Seville – Alcazar

a myth sings a myth: unavoidable

Maria Callas & Carmen

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