carmen st.magarethen

Video mapping projection for the fourth act of Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen on the open-air stage in St. Margarethen, Austria. In this production of Carmen, the story, originally set in the nineteenth century, was transposed to the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, at a time when Seville was already in the hands of the Francoists. In addition to the classic theme, the production sheds light on the struggle between the military, the strictly Catholic part of the population, and the Republicans. 
The unshortened version of the video material thematically explores the Spanish Civil War in Seville in the introduction of the fourth act and underscores the musical prelude to the fourth act with symbolism from Carmen. At the beginning of the video projection, reference is made to the importance of radio in the success of the Nationalists in Seville. Gonzalo Queipo’s radio propaganda played an instrumental role in the Nationalists’ victory in Seville. This is followed by themes from posters and flags of the CNT-AIF that supported the Nationalists in their campaign against the Fascist Franco regime. The “Himno de Riego” is played in the background. “El Himno de Riego” is a song dating from the Liberal Triennium and named in honour of Colonel Rafael del Riego. It was the national anthem of Spain during the First and Second Spanish Republics.
With the transition to the prelude in the fourth act, the building transforms into the original torero costume that Escamillo wore in the fourth act in the world premier, symbolizing the preparation for the bullfight. The appearance of the Cristo Negro underscores the strictly Catholic persuasion of the bullfighters and the Spanish population in general and portends the upcoming bullfight. For the video production of the stage arena, the 3D mapping technique was employed to offer the audience an impressive visual experience.

The Spanish Civil War was fought from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939 between the Rrepublicans, who were loyal to the established Spanish Republic, and the Nationalists, a rebel group led by General Francisco Franco.  Several posters were issued by the CNT during the Spanish Civil War. The Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) is a Spanish confederation of anarcho-syndicalist labour unions affiliated with the International Workers Association. Historically, the CNT was has also been affiliated with the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI). In this capacity it was referred to as the CNT-FAI. After periods of clandestine operation followed by other shorter periods of legalization, in 1936 the CNT was finally legalized, and would remain legal until the end of the Civil War. During the war, the union collaborated with other Rrepublican groups opposed to the Nationalists.

Gonzalo Queipo de Llano was a Spanish military officer who rose to prominence during Francisco Franco’s coup d’état and the subsequent Spanish Civil War.  During the Spanish Civil War, de Llano secured the capture of Seville with a force of at least 4,000 troops. During the Civil War, Gonzalo Queipo de Llano developed propaganda broadcasts on the radio representing a sophisticated form of psychological warfare: to intimidate the enemy and increase the endurance of the Nationalists in the Republican zone, the personalities of the Republican government were ridiculed every day using direct and vulgar language. In Seville, de Llano’s radio propaganda played an especially prominent role in the victory of the Nationalists.  

The pattern from the material of the torero jacket is projected above the stage arena. It was taken from the original costume of the actor who played Escamillo in the world premiere. The clothing worn by Spanish bullfighters is called traje de luces (suit of lights) and is made of silk embroidered with silver and gold. The name comes from the elements reflected by the light. 

The Cristo Negro del Encino (Black Jesus in the Oak) originated in the former Spanish colonial areas in Latin America and became the patron saint of bullfighters there. He is also known as the patron saint of toreros in Spain.


Carmen was performed thirty-one times at the opera festival in St. Magarethen. Well over 100,000 people saw the performance, which had a cast of more than 120 singers, dancers, and extras.