The Danish director talks to Limelight about staging Carmen on the lake-stage at Bregenz ahead of its cinema transmission.

Carmen  was one of the first operas that you’ve said you really connected to. What was it like coming to it now as a director? 

It was the first opera I ever saw, but I have always avoided directing it, because I always fear with Carmeneither to end up with only the clichés of folklore Spain and Carmen as an exotic fantasy, complete with fan and flower in the hair – or that one tries to strip it of its clichés and end up killing the energy and passion of the story in the process by making it too clinical.

In Bregenz I felt the elements of nature gave us a chance to tell the story on a big scale with incredible force, but using a new way to capture the strong feelings through the elements of water and air rather than through the clichees that the original is often tied down by.

Carmenon the Lake. Photo: supplied.

What are the challenges of directing a production set in such a...

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