Here is Georges Bizet’s Carmen, conducted by Zubin Mehta, who leads the Royal Opera House Orchestra in this 1991 staging at London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; this opera is stage-directed by Nuria Espert; and its leading roles are played by Maria Ewing (Carmen), Luis Lima (Don José), Leonina Vadiva (Micaëla) and Gino Quilico (Escamillo).
This well-liked opera was not initially well-received:
The libretto, by Henri Meilac and Ludovic Halévy, is based on a novella by Prosper Mérimée. The first performance of Carmen on 3 March 1875, produced such a hostile reaction that Bizet left Paris physically and psychologically ill, and died only three months later on 3 June 1875, following two serious heart attacks. The massive scandal of the premiere may have been partially the result of Bizet’s attempt to reform the Opéra Comique genre, yet it must still be said that Carmen is operatic history’s most famous example of a failure being corrected by the passage of time: Carmen is now one of the most frequently performed operas in the world.It is ranked as the second most-performed opera in the world; Verdi’s La Traviata is no. 1.