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Albert Hall to stage 'Carmen'

The Royal Albert Hall is to stage an arena production of Carmen next February, the month when Eric Clapton usually performs at the venue.

Classical promoter Raymond Gubbay and the Royal Albert Hall are mounting a co-production of the opera, following their successful La Boheme at the same venue last year.

Eric Clapton is taking a break from his residency to go into the recording studio.

Carmen will be directed by Frank Dunlop who is currently directing Cliff Richard in a musical version of Wuthering Heights.

Mr Gubbay said yesterday that the new Carmen will be "extremely sexy". He also said it would be performed in English, as the amount of spoken dialogue made a foreign language production unsuitable for an arena performance in front of a 4,000 strong audience. Tickets prices will be kept below pounds 40. David Lister