Globe-conquering ballerina Irina Kolesnikova returns to the London Coliseum this August with a new interpretation of an old classic, Her Name Was Carmen.

Now the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre takes Mérimée’s story to a refugee camp on the fringes of Europe.

Fiery, rich and beautiful, Carmen is a deadly cocktail of passion and tragedy. After her aristocratic family becomes the target of cruel smugglers who traffic migrants across the border, the free-spirited and feisty Carmen finds shelter in a refugee camp on the outskirts of Europe.

Against this backdrop of suffering and despair, naive camp guard Jose and the local smugglers’ boss both fall under Carmen’s spell… and become entangled in a love triangle of deadly consequences.

Andrei Kuznetzov-Vecheslov’s bold interpretation distils the emotional directness of Bizet’s opera and speaks to timeless themes of hope, despair, suffering and a thirst for a better life. The staging, drawing on one of the most pressing issues facing humanity, adds an unexpected urgency and pathos to the tragic tale.

Having received acclaim for last year’s sell-out season at the West End venue, Kolesnikova will star as one of 50 dancers in a new full-length ballet in two acts. Set to a re-orchestrated version of Bizet’s much-loved score, Her Name Is Carmen is played live by the orchestra of English National Opera.

Find out more about the rich variety of West End shows on offer in Theatreland.

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