Geneva's Grand Théâtre is staging a new production of Bizet's opera "Carmen" set in Spain during the 1960s, when the country was ruled by the regime of General Franco.
"I chose this period because it brings the characters closer to us without making them completely contemporary," said director Christian Räth.
"It was a time when the roles of men and women were clearly defined, and into their midst, ignoring the strict rules, came the rebellious Carmen."
When it was first performed in 1875, the story of the sultry temptress and her tragic romance with Don José was judged to be a failure. But since then it has continuously grown in popularity to become one of the most frequently staged operas around the world.
"The character of Carmen remains as topical as ever," says Räth. "It is a role with which the women of today can still identify, because she insists on making her own choices while remaining vulnerable in her love-life"
Räth added that the music of Georges Bizet had such power and energy that audiences were unable to resist it.
Sara Fulgoni plays the title role in the Geneva production, which ends its run on New Year's Eve, and Jon Ketilsson is Don José. Three Swiss sopranos - Rachel Frasquita, Christine Buffle and Isabelle Henriquez - also have leading roles, as Micäela, Frasquita and Mercedes.