Robert Carsen: ‘What is it all about?

What makes director Robert Carsen so loved?

Tue, Apr 9, 2024

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Imagine an entrancing journey through the depths of the human heart, guided by the visionary hand of a master director, Robert Carsen. His name has become synonymous with a unique form of theatre that touches, moves and enchants the soul.

Robert Carsen, a titan in the world of opera, has been capturing the hearts of audiences worldwide since the 1980s with his sublime approach to opera. His productions are not only praised for their aesthetic beauty, but especially for the profound humanity they convey. The secret of his success? We can't stop talking about it, but one thing is certain: it's all about your experience.

'What is it all about?'

Unlike many contemporary directors, who often overlay classical stories with political and societal layers, Carsen chooses to focus on the pure emotion of his characters. He doesn't tell a story to convey a message; he tells the story because it's worth telling. His theater is not a political statement but a celebration of human strength and emotion.

In Robert Carsen's world, empathy is central. He invites his audience to lose themselves in the lives of his characters, without judging or moralizing them. His characters are not archetypes but living, breathing beings, complete with their own flaws and vulnerabilities. In this way, he succeeds in helping his audience understand even the most extreme, problematic characters. This process begins as soon as Carsen dedicates himself to an opera with his recurring question: 'What is it all about?'. The result is a theatrical experience that not only stimulates the intellect but also touches the deepest emotions.

The Empty Space

When the curtain rises, as a spectator, you forget the theater and are enveloped in a visually intriguing world. The story unfolds slowly before your eyes. One of the most characteristic aspects is his minimalist approach. He believes that the music should be the guide, and he will never add anything that distracts from the core of the story. His sets are often simple but effective, with symbols that powerfully embody the essence of the story. In Carsen's direction of Jenůfa, for example, the opening scene consists of earth, doors, people, and light. After all, the audience doesn't need more to place the main character in a suffocating village community.

Robert Carsen is more than a director; he is a storyteller, a visionary, and a master of the stage. His work transcends time and place and continues to capture the hearts of his audience.

Welcome to the enchanting world of Robert Carsen.

Photos: Guillermo Mendo - Photos of Jenůfa from the production at Teatro de la Maestranza in Sevilla

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