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Carmen – oversexed, underdressed and over here

Carmen – oversexed, underdressed and over here.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet closes its year with The TOWER Season of Carmen, a stylish and sexy new dance drama production.

“From the wrong side of the tracks there’s only one – Carmen! She’s unscrupulous, hot-blooded and utterly irresistible. We turn up the heat with this explosive production, choreographed by Didy Veldman. Didy’s works are known for their sparkle and sophistication, and Carmen is no exception,” said Artistic Director Gary Harris.

Carmen, the man-eater immortalised in Bizet’s operatic masterpiece, uses her seductive powers to devastating effect. She disarms with a sideward glance and manipulates every situation to her favour – until one of these men, José, falls desperately in love with her. Caught between duty and desire, José's uncontrollable passion for the dismissive Carmen can only lead to disaster.

Veldman has set the ballet in modern day Rio de Janeiro, where cellphone-toting low-lifers inhabit the underbelly of the city and Escamillo is famous as a rock star rather than as a toreador. By day Carmen works in a cigarette factory, by night she hangs out with a band of small-time crooks at the seedy Bar Pastia.

Dutch-born Veldman is among a handful of top women choreographers working in international ballet today. A dancer with Rambert Dance Company until 2000, Veldman left the company to concentrate on her choreographic career. She throws out the pointe shoes in Carmen; the choreography danced barefoot or in stilettos or work boots.

Directed by Patricia Doyle, with set and costume design by Lez Brotherston and lighting by Mark Henderson, this production sizzles with energy. Bizet’s score, arranged by John Longstaff and conducted by Gavin Sutherland, will be performed by the NGC Wellington Sinfonia and Auckland Philharmonia.

Carmen is sponsored by TOWER. “This is the first time that TOWER and the Royal New Zealand Ballet have been partners – it is a new relationship we are very excited about. The TOWER Season of Carmen is a dynamic production that TOWER is proud to be the season sponsor of. We know that New Zealand audiences will eagerly anticipate and enthusiastically enjoy the energy, the drama and the style that this production will embody,” said Keith Taylor, Group Chief Executive, TOWER Limited.

Carmen was first performed to great acclaim in 1999 by Northern Ballet Theatre, the company that first staged the smash hit Dracula and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The Evening Standard (UK) said of Carmen: “once in a while a ballet comes a long that is a breath of fresh air, and Northern Ballet Theatre’s Carmen is exactly that.” The Daily Telegraph agreed, saying it was “a powerful and bright new show…magnificently staged”.

The TOWER Season of Carmen tours New Zealand from 1 November – 14 December.

Wellington 1-3 November and 6-9 November Featuring the NGC Wellington Sinfonia Palmerston North 15-17 November
Dunedin 22 & 23 November
Christchurch 27-30 November
Auckland 4-8 December Featuring the Auckland Philharmonia
Napier 12-14 December

Season updates will be posted on

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