Beautiful gypsies, obsession, bullfighters and some of the liveliest rhythms in opera…it can only be Carmen. This new production is set in 1960s Spain, a country firmly entrenched in General Franco’s right-wing regime. Women are oppressed, the gypsies ghettoised, the country is riddled with poverty and black-market smuggling is rife. Bizet’s boldly seductive opera has been a world favourite for over a century. From the sultry ‘Habanera’ to the naively passionate ‘Flower Song’ and the rousing ‘Toreador’s Song’, Bizet’s ever-popular music brings out the earthy vitality of his characters. Ashley Dean directs a fine ensemble cast.