Carmen review: Sensual innuendoes turn into nightmare

Carmen, on the program until 4th January at the Grimaldi Forum, was reinvented by Swedish choreographer Johan Inger and performed by the dancers of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo with the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Manuel Coves. 

The legendary Carmen forms the bridge between the tradition of opéra comique and the realism that characterised late 19th-century Italian opera.

Swedish choreographer John Inger takes on the mythical saga entrenched in Spanish culture and chooses to unveil his tragic heroine through the eyes of an innocent child, playing the role of a witness, enveloping the esoteric whirls of seduction and violence into total conundrum.

Photo credit: Alice Blangero

If Bizet’s version of Mérimée’s popular novel shocked its Paris audience back in 1875 with its crazed sensuality, Inger’s version if original, is even more barbarous than beautiful, more calamitous than sensual.

This mythical piece, originally developed for the Compaňia  Nacional de Danza that premiered in Madrid in 2015, is accentuated by the wild agility of the talented dancers from the Ballets de Monte-Carlo, exerting superb control over every muscle of their bodies.

Photo credit: Alice Blangero

In the last devastating dance, when Carmen succumbs in the hands of Don Jose, dancers spin like intermeshed automates, on the border of terrifying.

David Delfin has created an atemporal dress code in red, white and black; the re-staging play of mirrors proliferating the silhouettes to infinity; precious light spectrum between colourful bursts and black demonic shadows — the coalition of hot and cold gives a different life to the ballet which intensifies energy an lushness.

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Main photo credit: Alice Blangero