In the mid 19th century, the free-spirited gypsy cigarerra from the Tabacco factory of Seville scandalized the world, immediately becoming a symbol of the modern and independent woman. Over the next century, musicians, singers, directors, researchers and collectors told and retold the story of Carmen, creating a legend. Narrated by British actor Ben Cross, this documentary explores the very first artistic interpretations of Carmen and examines her place in the early development of the recording and film industries.
The documentary Loving Carmen examines the earliest incarnations of Carmen in art, literature, music and cinema. Presenting the first recordings of selected arias from Bizet's eponymous opera, the documentary recounts in turns the history of the opera and of the recording, film and television industries at the turn of the 20thcentury, two histories that are closely intertwined. This history is integrated with footage of rehearsals at the Theater St. Gallen of their production of Carmen, staged by Italian director Nicola Berloffa and an exploration of soprano Alex Penda's interpretation of the title role.