Amid a steady rain, the Santa Fe Opera opened its 65th season Friday night with a thoughtfully conceived and often-compelling new production of Georges Bizet’s Carmen, last seen here in 2014.

In their company debuts, stage director Mariame Clément and scenic and costume designer Julia Hansen mined the opera’s text for specific details as well as its general sweep, transforming the familiar piece into something much different and more timely than the usual parade of staging and design clichés.

Those insisting on swirling matador capes, flamenco dresses and lots of 19th-century local color will be disappointed. For Clément and Hagen, Carmen is just as much a story of today as it is an historic artifact. Their interpretation is based on two seemingly inescapable realities: Men who are violent toward women once will be violent again, and women are often trapped in a cycle of sexualization and male fantasy they can’t escape.

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