Stage Director Fenlon Lamb talks about the inspiration and design of Carmen ahead of the opera opening the 23-24 Season.

This new production of Carmen was inspired by the vibrant textures of Seville. The architecture in the capital city of Andalusia runs the gambit from grungy and dank cobblestone alleyways to the pristine, white-washed walls of the striking bull ring filled with dust and blood. Brightly tiled garden walls enclose fragrant orange trees and verdant palm forests which contrast the towering stone structures of ornate castles and cathedrals. All of these features are bathed in a searing heat with a slow, sultry river running through the center. 

We settled on a monolithic pair of set pieces to represent the large scale of the city’s imposing buildings and tied them together with a stepped platform that functions as a bridge between barracks and cigar factory, the entrance way to Lilas Pastia’s seedy bar, a moonlit mountain pass and the euphoric parade route before the climactic bull fight. Atmospheric projections reflect Seville’s many moods and facets while lending a lushness to the scenic elements. The interplay of lighting and projections allow the story to unfold with flexibility and create graceful transitions of locale. 

Act 3 Rendering