Here's my version of "Suor Carmen" (literally, Sister Carmen), says 40-something Sicilian director, Emma Dante, interpreting the fiery temptress instead as a mild woman of the sisterhood. The Italian director (who has never before directed an opera in her career and recently bragged that she had never set foot inside la Scala before getting hired to stage Carmen) will inaugurate, next week, la Scala's 2009/10 season on December 7th with Bizet's heroine, Carmen.
Dante's vision, which relies on a heavy helping of symbolism at every turn, depicts a Carmen who is "pure like a nun, aggressive like an animal -- mythological and contemporary." Dante promises passion, secks, and animalistic tendencies, where Carmen is a heroine without shame, "an emancipated, free woman living in a time when it was impossible to even speak about those things." A tragic heroine of the Italian South, an old fashioned tale full of symbolism tied to the modern world, with lots of violence and lots of allusions to the Catholic church.
Dante's partner in crime is set designer Richard Peduzzi, undoubtedly lean but well-made scenery that will certainly help out Dante's angst, rage-against-the-machine, counterculture vision. Peduzzi's name is familiar with the English-speaking opera world, a scenographer who was most recently chastised a couple months ago for his stark, liberty-taking Tosca (with director Luc Bondy) that opened the Metropolitan Opera's 2009/2010 season (which Opera Chic reported on here). Morocco is the inspiration for the sets, and costumes are stripped of the folklore.
Luckily for Milan's more conservative audiences, word has it that conductor Daniel Barenboim already laid the smack-down on a few directorial decisions, and had Dante trim back a majority of the wacky ideas we reported here, which means less rapey and nudey goodness.
In a director's mind that boasts symbolism as the main thrust (unconventional props like gags for the cigarette factory girls), we're not sure why we're already laughing our Seven-for-all-Mankind-encased-a$$es off at the teaser that Escamillo's Erwin Schrott has been gifted with a Michael Jackson-inspired warddrobe. Gawd save the matador. Ole!
Anyway, if you're able to sit through it, we're going to leave you with this clip of Dante's most famous play. Find it after the jump, along with photos of Barenboim and Dante from a recent press conference.