Carmen: From the Director

February 16, 18, 22, 24, and 28, 2012, at 8 pm
Matinée February 26 at 2:30 pm

Last spring Director Dennis Garnhum and Designer Bretta Gerecke travelled to Spain at their own expense to do research for POV's production of Carmen. Here are some of their photos and the Director's Notes.

Director's Notes

My heart was racing as I watched a Matador enter the bullring. Thousands of people were cheering for this man decked out in his colourful uniform of battle. Moments later a large, confused and angry bull was let into the ring. Tradition and history were playing out before me. In mere minutes, it was clear to everyone that someone or something was going to die. The tension and drama were palpable. I'll never forget that moment.

Last spring I travelled to Seville with our designer Bretta Gerecke to take in the sights, sounds and experience of Spain. The setting for this opera is one of the most celebrated countries on earth, so it seemed like a perfect excuse to do a bit of research. Tough assignment, indeed! In our explorations, we were not disappointed. Day after day we encountered gorgeous architecture married with beautiful people eating sumptuous food. But it was at the bullfight that I felt I understood Spain the most. Sitting in the ring on that hot May evening, I saw clearly that Matadors are incredibly important people in this society, and that the dance of death that the Matador engages in with the bull is a powerful and deeply disturbing ritual.

In our opera, this extraordinary backdrop exists to illuminate the life of a gypsy woman named Carmen. This is a person who exudes life and living at every turn. Everyone who is in her presence falls madly and passionately in love with her. Not because she is visually attractive (and she is), but because she lives a bold, daring and uncompromising life. The people who surround her want to stand in her glow, to touch a piece of her brilliance, and to join her world. In this way, Carmen represents the best of her country.

Now add to this mix an innocent soldier who catches Carmen's eye one hot day.

Danger rises to the surface when you connect together an extraordinary woman, a loyal soldier and a Matador. Place them in Seville and you've set yourself up for a potent but guaranteed thrilling experience of a lifetime.

Keep breathing. And be warned: at the end of the event someone will die.

Dennis Garnhum


Images of Seville

All photos courtesy Dennis Garnhum and Bretta Gerecke

Matador and bull
Matador and Bull

Dennis Garnhum by Statue of Curro Romero
Dennis Garnhum strikes a pose by the bronze statue outside the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza (the Seville bullring). The statue is dedicated to the famous bullfighter Curro Romero.

Bullfighters enter the bullring
Bullfighters enter the bullring of the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza.

Colours of Seville
Colours of Seville


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