Thought-provoking flamenco from María Pagés in Yo, Carmen

This article is from 2017

Thought-provoking flamenco from María Pagés in Yo, Carmen

credit: David Ruano

Flamenco-infused reimagining of Bizet's legendary heroine

For almost 150 years, Carmen has been synonymous with images of a dark-eyed temptress who brings a world of trouble to the men in her life. Growing up in Seville, the setting for Prosper Mérimée's original story and Bizet's opera, choreographer María Pagés was acutely aware of this skewed vision of womanhood.

After a long period of reflection, Pagés finally felt she was 'strong, experienced and mature enough' to offer an alternative view of what she terms a 'misogynist novel' and 'stereotype of women' – and so Yo, Carmen (I, Carmen) was born.

Over the past 27 years, Pagés has built up a reputation for creating thought-provoking flamenco that respects the genre's traditions yet takes it somewhere new. This latest venture is no exception, with eight dancers and seven musicians combining to deliver a new incarnation of the famous tale.

'Yo, Carmen is not the story of Carmen,' explains Pagés. 'It's a way to give a voice to women and what women want to be in this world – not just what a man wants a woman to do, or imagines about us. We are women who work, who are mothers, who teach, who run the family, who are very strong but at the same time very fragile – real women.'

Playhouse, 12 & 13 Aug, 8pm, £11–£35

Yo, Carmen

  • 4 stars

A vibrant ode to womanhood, and a radical reimagining of Bizet’s voluptuous opera heroine – from the brilliant flamenco dancer and choreographer María Pagés. Visionary and flamboyant, and blending dance, music, poetry and theatre, Yo, Carmen digs deep into the primal emotions of flamenco – and is unforgettably beautiful.