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Elina Garanča’s reprise will take place at Teatro alla Scala in Milano. Considered as one of the most demanding Opera audience, performing at La Scala is like walking on fire. Elina Garanča will then fight fire with the fire of Carmen, her signature role. Starring opposite José Cura as Don José with Massimo Zanetti leading from the podium.

Carmen, a passionate story, only one truth: to be free no matter what and above everything


Carmen is considered by experts as the most played Opera in the world. Yet, its debut was not as we could consider as glamorous. When Georges Bizet delivered Carmen, it was firstly performed at Opera Comique in Paris. This happened on March 3rd 1875. We would imagine that the audience of that time would immediately recognize Bizet’s talent on this masterpiece… Well, actually they did not. After the Premiere, the Parisian audience did not understand at all Carmen. The critics were pretty harsh on Bizet’s Opera.


Carmen tells the story of Don José, a naive soldier who falls in love with Carmen, the fiery Gipsy. The opera is done in Opera Comique style, meaning there are dialogs between 2 acting. Don José abandons everything for Carmen, his career, his future and even his dreams. Carmen is a free spirit, so after a while she falls in love with the glamorous toreador Escamillo and leaves Don José. The pain of these treason, brings Don José down to earth and he realizes how miserable his life became. In order to get revenge, Don José kills Carmen. The fact the main role dies on stage was something pretty revolutionary for that time and not so well perceived. The talented author never understood why the public did not like Carmen. This was the cause of a deep sorrow for Bizet. He died 3 month later at the age of 36 years old.
Nevertheless, Carmen continue to be played specially abroad. After meeting the deserved success internationally, Carmen was back to Paris in 1883 and embraced success. As we can see, it took some time but today it is part of the great classics that every Opera singer needs to have on his or her portfolio.
What made this opera not only to survive but to become such an icon, is definitely the intensity of the primal role of Carmen. It is such an intense, authentic and passionate role that every opera singer wants to be part of this story. For a female artist, performing Carmen is a true accomplishment. The role is so pure and clear that the performer and the opera character need to unite. No place for cheating. You need to have this internal flame that will fuel the strong personality of Carmen. Carmen never surrenders. She is a free woman and she decides when, how, where and with whom she will deliver her passion. Being a free person, will always make the audience to face its own limitations and potentially, Carmen accomplishes what many would never dare: be free. Probably that is why it was not a success back in 1875.

Carmen requires a great singer with fire in the eyes. Elina Garanča has it.

The Mezzo-Soprano has made Carmen her signature role. And initially we would not have expected that! Elina Garanča has the passion that only true opera divas have. And this brought her to Carmen as a revelator of her talent. The Habanera in act I sounds like if it was made for her. If Elina Garanča would have lived at Bizet’s time, she would have been his muse. And he would have been right. Elina Garanča brings to the role a certain power that Bizet wanted for his Carmen.


With a tessiture as Mezzo-Soprano, Elina Garanča has the deepness of low notes and the striking of higher notes. She brings alot of emotions to the ears and the hearts of the audience and that’s how she conquered La Scala.
The first time Elina Garanča performed at Teatro alla Scala in Milano was in 2012 in a very successful recital. After a great start, she was back already at two different occasions to perform Verdi’s Requiem. This time, with Carmen, she will definitely make a big wave.


Carmen – Teatro alla Scala in Milano

  • March 22nd – Premiere
    Conductor – Massimo Zanetti
  • Staging – Emma Dante
  • Sets – Richard Peduzzi
  • Costumes – Emma Dante
  • Lights – Dominique Bruguière
  • Choregraphic movements – Manuela Lo Sicco
  • For more information, check the Opera house website:

Elina Garanča is probably one of the best Carmen in the history of this opera play. If you are lucky enough to see her perform on stage, you will understand why. The Teatro alla Scala is already lighting up the stage because Carmen has no limits. She is free.


Info sourced at La Scala official communication, Elina Garanča communication, wikipedia, and Flickr. Featured image of Ms Garanča comes from Teatro alla Scala. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available.