Opera North warns children off 'sexy' Carmen

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An opera company has added a minimum age recommendation to tickets for its latest production - which includes bare breasts and buttocks.

Opera North added the 12+ age suggestion after receiving an "extraordinarily varied" reaction to Bizet's Carmen.

The opera, showing at Grand Theatre, Leeds, is promoted as "a sexy, gripping production which pulls no punches".

Following comments, the company added the age guidance to "help audiences".

'Fiery and passionate'

A review of the opera in the Yorkshire Evening Post describes the staging as: "Irreverently shifted from 19th Century Spain to what appears to be 70s America.

"So Opera North's new Carmen receives the Redneck treatment throughout: Women gang-groped by policemen, breasts exposed, buttocks bared and a certain amount of violence."

Richard Mantle, Opera North's general director, said: "Carmen is a wonderful and very moving opera with beautiful music, but it is essentially about a woman on the margins of society, driven by a fierce and uncompromising desire for personal liberty and for a man, in the grip of sexual obsession, who tries to own her.

"The challenge for any creative team is to realise the full visceral force of Bizet's vision for this most enduring of operas through what is a brilliantly characterful musical score.

'Adult material'

"Public reaction to our current production has been extraordinarily varied, with many positive and enthusiastic comments - some less so. Yet we are conscious the production as finally conceived does contain some material of an adult nature and that is why we have added a 12+ age recommendation to our online presence and also to the marketing material for the Spring season.

"We stand by the way we have marketed and promoted the show and feel we convey the nature of the subject matter in the story.

"We have taken the view that adding a simple 12+ age guidance is merely helping our audiences by providing more information about the production."

The production runs at the theatre on various dates until 11 May.

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