Florentine opera house changes ending to Carmen2:49, 3rd January 2018
The Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino’s new production of Bizet’s Carmen departs from the opera’s normal ending.
Instead of dying from a stab wound received from Don José, the title character grabs a pistol from her former lover and shoots him.
According to the Telegraph, the opera’s producers said they had changed the plot to protest the abuse and mistreatment of women, and because they were uncomfortable with the idea of audiences applauding the final scene, in which Carmen is killed.
Speaking to La Repubblica, Cristiano Chiarot, head of the opera house, said: ‘At a time when our society is having to confront the murder of women, how can we dare to applaud the killing of a woman?’
‘I believe one can remain faithful to the spirit of the opera whilst taking certain liberties – as happened in classical times, when there were various versions of the most famous myths, without their original meaning being compromised.’
Leo Muscato, director of the production, was initially resistant to the idea of changing the ending. ‘Then I understood that what Chiarot was calling for was reasonable. The theme of death in the opera has a strong masculine element – the woman must sacrifice herself in order to save her freedom. It is a point of view that today makes no sense.’
Carmen will run at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino between 7 and 18 January.