It never rains but it pours. Incredibly, there are two productions of Carmen descending upon Brighton a mere day apart.

The first is by Flamenco Production company La Cuadra and is performed at the Dome Concert Hall.

This show strays from the established format, music and storyline of Bizet's famous opera, instead providing a folkloric interpretation of the famous Andalucian legend about a poor cigarette worker.

It goes back to the authentic roots of the tale and places great importance on the historical reality from which it emerged.

"The songs, dances, smells, costumes and instruments tell her story in a popular form which doesn't have anything to do with the high culture concentrated on in the opera," says Salvador Tavora, company founder and artistic director.

"Here in Seville, we see her story from a different point of view to the rest of the world. It's a tale which has been passed down from our grandmothers."

The only problem with creating a realistic version of the famous tragedy is its fictitiousness. The tale was inspired by the murder of Spanish gypsy cigarette girl by her jealous lover in 1830 but it has been expanded upon countless times since.

However, it is not the true history of a woman which Salvador wants to recreate but the true history of Seville around her era.

"The Carmen in our show is not a real figure but a symbolic blend of many different women from the time, rolled together into one," says Salvador.

"We are reproducing the passion and suffering of all the Carmens - all the great-great-great grandmothers of Seville."

This authentic picture of Carmen-era Seville has been painted with serious attention to detail. Costumes reflect the traditional dress of the 19th Century, the musical score includes period military songs and there's a white stallion which dances to Flamenco music.

In a performance, which Salvador asserts is all about the history and tumultuous passions of his home, this symbolism is crucial to the depiction of a region torn for centuries by war and ever-changing rulers.

Meanwhile, a version of Bizet's opera will take place at the Brighton Centre on Sunday, April 6, also featuring an Andalucian stallion live on stage.

The horse in question this time is Rodrigo, who was brought over by Animal Acting, a leading supplier of animals to the film and TV industry, and whose previous film roles include Gladiator.

Brighton Centre: Tickets cost £12.50-£29.50, stars 7.30pm. Call 08709 009100. Dome: Tickets cost £15-£30, starts 8pm, Wed matinee 2.30pm. Call 01273 709709.