The Mexican embassy in Italy has criticised Teatro dell’Opera di Roma’s depiction of Mexicans in its new production of Carmen. In a statement, ambassador Juan José Guerra Abud said that the opera was based “on stereotypes that do not represent the Mexican people or their culture” and described it as “crass and simplistic”.
Directed by Valentina Carrasco, the production relocates Carmen from Seville to the US-Mexican border. It is hosted at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma’s outdoor Caracalla Opera House.
“The embassy fully supports artistic freedom in all its expressions, as these represent an essential component of the dialogue between the world’s cultures,” continued the statement, before adding: “It is important that Teatro dell’Opera di Roma sets closer ties with its counterparts in Mexican institutions and civil society, with the aim of getting to know the nuances of life on the border and the rest of the country.”
The statement is the second complaint the embassy has lodged against the production, after objecting to a disfigured projection of the Virgin of Guadalupe. The opera company agreed to remove that image from the production before it opened.