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Carmen

Svoboda made his entrance on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York with his scenography for Bizet’s Carmen. The famous Leonard Bernstein held the conductor’s baton.  The sketches for the production work with the distribution of mass on the stage, and the photographs of the performance show how well the mission was accomplished: the stage was meant to glow with oppressive sunlight and radiate heat. The arrangement in the front space also had to be prepared for the night seen in a mountain ravine. The glaringly white set for the factory courtyard and corrida led Svoboda to having to address yet another technical issue: how to systematically work with so-called “parasite light”.  Svoboda proved that this unwanted light, usually damaging, can create a miracle if it is thoughtfully and systematically handled.  Not only the floor but even the entire set was made of white carpets that were sufficiently shaggy to absorb the light. The audience applauded immediately as the curtain rose, and the same enthusiasm and admiration was voiced by American reviewers.

Georges Bizet: CARMEN
Metropolitan Opera New York
premiere: 19. 9. 1972
director: Bodo Igesz
conductor: Leonard Berstein
costume designer: David Walker

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