CARMEN – A REFLECTION OF TRAGIC GUILT FROM A GREEK TRAGEDY

Music, text and theatre of movement are the basic trinity of the principles of the classical Greek tragedy. All genres of the arts in the epoch of Renaissance were irrevocably resurrected from it.

In our new production of CARMEN by Georges Bizet the staging, in the look from its musical dramaturgy to its life on the stage, is a personal choice for independent conceptual look into the style of mixed principles of modern times and traditions from the ancient Greek theatre. But the ancient Japanese theatre NOH, which combines closeness to it, also gives reasons in the search of approaches, motivating my choice for escape from the clichés of known interpretations of the eternal masterpiece of the French musical realistic theatre.

In this sense, also the spatial dimensions are keeping the stage clear of props, free from deciphering of the genre according to the classical categories. Dominating place has the concentration on destiny of the main personages, put in the central circle as their main arena of fatality. And the space around the arena is the place for the spectators, for their acting, behaviour and reactions of an simultaneously observing, commenting and acting Chorus.

The composition of the spatial parts for the action and the acting are in harmonic proportions and commensurability of the parts in the stage space. The circle as geometrical figure, a legacy, together with the square from the ancient Greek canon in the sculptural thinking about the proportions of human body, is our basic and elevated stage. It is determined also as a harmonic connection for the three main personages, interweaved into the tragedy of the libretto.

Three amphitheatric tribunes, surrounding the circle, are a generalized symbol of the places for the spectators, but in the musical and stage dramaturgical texture, this is the singing chorus. They, the spectators – chorus, turn into a collective energy catalyst of the dramatic conflict between the tragic figure of the central character with her surrounding milieu, expressed exactly by the collective character – Chorus, the other very important personage from the classical Greek tragedy.

This way manifests the conflict: the tragic and lonely figure of Carmen, whose behaviour is pronouncedly focused always on acting in the arena, it stands, absolutely independent and isolated, in the counterpoint of the generalized personage of the commenting her community from hidden, indifferent and impersonal faces with masks – the chorus, an especially important and strongly expressed collective character.

Fully isolates and independent from the masked circle is the behaviour, the action and the sad drama of the three fatally interwoven protagonists: Carmen – Don José – Micaëla. The rest of the characters: Escamillo, Dancaïre, Remendado, Frasquita and Mercédès, together with the episodic for the action Moralès and Zuniga, are symbols from the general alloy – a picture, visually vibrating, with the freedom of cares and the vitality, and they are in the periphery of the personal drama of the main characters.

CARMEN is a tragedy of the personality. This is why in the spectacle it is a centrum, as a mundane person, but limited by an extraterrestrial force. Two are the vital vibrations of the central character: love and freedom. Love and freedom for her are more important than life. She herself becomes their victim, while fighting against the predestination, which marked her. Her impulses for independence turn her into a victim. From the very beginning, she is doomed above all. Her personality doesn’t fit into frames. She chooses and defines her behaviour by her own. The world for her is impersonal and heartless. She prefers solitude. Carmen takes the decisions about life by her own. She doesn’t accept the death, predicted by the cards and exactly her right of choice leads her to death, to which she sets out by her own for her fatal meeting with José. This way, with the freedom of her strong spirit, dependent on no one, she takes a decision about her life. Her pride is punished, also because of her conscience, which is constantly looking for a change – an audacity and a challenge. But human life is in the hands of Destiny.

Carmen is a reflection of tragic guilt, close in fate to female characters from the classical masterpieces of Greek tragedy.

Plamen Kartaloff

Director of the spectacle

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