BBC produces 2-minute Carmen. Er, why?

BBC produces 2-minute Carmen. Er, why?


norman lebrecht

August 08, 2016

From the press release:

The BBC has produced a mini version of Bizet’s famous opera Carmen as part of the Get Playing music making campaign.

The short video condenses the doomed love story into a playful 120 seconds narrated by BBC Radio 6 Music’s Breakfast Show presenter, Shaun Keaveny.

Watch it here.

Then ask yourself, what’s the point? Where’s the added value?

Will this DJ-chatty skit increase by one iota the urge in anyone to go and see a live Carmen?

bbc carmen


  • V.Lind says:

    Not me. That’s all the Carmen I will ever need again. Too many throughout my life. Looking around for something else. Opera companies are getting very timid.

  • pooroperaman says:

    On the plus side, a two-minute Carmen might make the role possible for Katherine Jenkins.

  • John Borstlap says:

    But isn’t this an excellent commercial for children? It wisely leaves-out the music, so that it will be a surprise and when you are seated, you can’t get away so easily and maybe such experience lays the basis for later opera appreciation. – How would the BBC do this with the Ring, I wonder?

    • Mark Fishman says:

      I can’t speak for the BBC, but I remember a 90-minute condensation of the Ring, done with puppets and stage ninjas, that was directed by Peter Sellars while he was still an undergraduate at Harvard. I think they used excerpts from the Solti recording and minimal props — Brunnhilde’s rock, for example, was a stepladder. Brilliant.

    • Jimmy says:

      I agree with John. There is no harm in it and if it gets one person to explore Carmen more, then what’s the problems?

      • John Borstlap says:

        It seems that it has to do with context. If this was directed at adults, maybe even at people occasionally watching BBC channels, it would have been greatly embarrassing. For children however, it seems harmless. It is possible, that BBC programmers actually do think that the average British adult can only be addressed in this way when the subject is ‘serious music’.

      • Jaybuyer says:

        The fact that we the licence payers have to pay for such indulgence?

    • bratschegirl says:

      Anna Russell did the definitive condensed Ring long ago. I know it was available on LP and then on CD, and I assume it’s on YouTube by now. Very amusing, but also by no means a bad synopsis.

  • Carmen-Helena Tellez says:

    Great for children. I hope they do more!

    • Jaybuyer says:

      Er ….great for children to do what? Not much music here. And I don’t think the selfishness and violence in Carmen is suitable for ‘children’.