"I loathe Bizet’s Carmen. Yes, it is wellcrafted and, yes, it has famous tunes. It is in those universally recognised melodies that the merits of the piece end and my hatred begins. They have been mauled and bent out of shape so much by countless TV ads, arrangements for solo flute with marching band and other Muzak versions that I can only hear the popera as a hit parade.
And then there is the story. As Don José blithely ignores the demure and hopeless passes made at him by Micaela in favour of Carmen, the desire to stand up and scream: “Go and live your life with the nice girl from the village, and tell that Gypsy slapper to sod off” is too much for me. And then there’s the hideous thigh slapping and unnatural cigarette smoking that all Carmens hope passes for hussy behaviour in Seville. It is unbelievable what people think translates as sexy when it comes to staging this long, dull, yet commercial melodrama."