“Love is a rebellious bird that no one can tame. It is no use calling it if it chooses to refuse.”
– Carmen’s Habanera
– Carmen’s Habanera
When Don José encounters Carmen, a wild and free spirit, he forsakes his former life and his fiancée Micaëla. But the emotions of a free woman cannot be tied down! When Carmen is swept away by a toreador, there is only one solution.
Carmen is the world’s most popular opera thanks to its compelling story, memorable tunes and fiery Spanish rhythms. Hit after hit outline the doomed love story, which in this production is set in the restless Spain of the 1930s. The dazzlingly visual production proceeds with a cinematic drive.
Recommended for children over the age of 9.
Prosper Merimée’s description of Carmen
A company of dragoons lounge at a street corner outside their post in Seville. The officer on guard, Morales, tries to flirt with Micaëla, a shy young country girl who has come to ask for the brigadier Don José, but the girl retreats. Followed by a squad of urchins, the relief guard marches in, among them Don José. The cigarett girls saunter out of their factory. Carmen, a gypsy, appears last and is surrounded by her admirers, to whom she sings of the fickleness of love. Piqued by the indifference of Don José, she throws a flower in his face and then retires with her companions to the factory. Micaëla returns to give José a message of affection from his mother. When she modestly withdraws, José vows to marry her as his mother has wished. Suddenly there is an uproar in the cigarett factory and the girl pour out, crying that Carmen has wounded a fellow-worker. Brought before Zuniga, Don Josés captain, the gypsy defiantly resists arrest. She induces José to loosen her bonds by promising him a rendez-vous; as the soldiers lead her to prison she breaks away.
In Lillas Pastia’s tavern. Carmen and her friends Frasquita and Mercédès describe the joys of gypsy life. The toreador Escamillo arrives with a party and recounts his adventures in the bullring; he is soon enamored of Carmen. All leave save the gypsy and her friends, who are persuaded by the smugglers to join them on a mountain expedition. Don José hurries in, free at last from the guardhouse where he has been disciplined for letting Carmen escape. She dances for him, but when retreat spunds and José prepares to return to camp she is furious. He clings feebly to his military loyalties but protests his passion, showing her the flower she once threw him, which he has kept. Carmen insists that if he loved her he would follow her to the mountains. José refuses to desert, but when Zuniga enters and orders him back to barracks he disobeys. The two men are about to fight when the gypsies rush in and disarm Zuniga forcing Don José to throw in his lot with them.
The smugglers and gypsies pause in a mountain pass. Despite his shame José still adores Carmen, but she is tiring of him. Frasquita and Merédès read their cards: when Carmen deals the pack she finds only death. As they carry their bales away, the terrified Micaëla approaches in search of Don José. She hides as Escamillo arrives, looking for Carmen. He and the jealous brigadier speedily come to blows, but their duel is stopped by Carmen herself. The toreador leaves after issuing an invitation to the bullfights in Seville, and the others are about to resume their march when Micaëla is discovered. José agrees to go with her when she reveals that his mother is dying, but warns Carmen, they will meet again.
A square in front of the arena in Seville. The procession of bandilleros and picadors passes through, and finally, to the sound of the toreador’s march, Escamillo appears, with Carmen on his arm. Frasquita and Mecédès who have seen José, warn Carmen against him, but she has no fear and is ready to speak to him. The crowd enters the bull-ring, and Carmen is left alone. José, dishevelled, enters and implores her to return to him, but Carmen retorts that she no longer loves him. Enthusiastic applause for Escamillo is heard from the bull-ring. Carmen tries to run into the arena, but José stands in her way. Carmen, furious, throws at his feet the ring which he gave her as a token of their love. In desperation, José draws his knife and stabs her.
– Georges Bizet
You can buy individual tickets for season 2019–2020 performances in our online store at a 10% discount until 15 June. This discount only applies to normal priced tickets (not the H price category) to Main Stage performances. The discount is not given for tickets to visiting productions. Refreshment sales will start later in April.
Choose your favourite refreshments from this season’s tasty menu. You can easily add refreshments to your shopping basket while selecting tickets in our new online store. Refreshment sales for season 2019–2020 will start later in April.
The services of the Opera Restaurant are available before performances and during the interval. Order beforehand and avoid the queues.
Please note that we cannot guarantee a specific table for orders made via the online store. We may also seat several parties at the same table. You may be assigned a bar height table for enjoying refreshments standing up.
Give a friend or family member an evening at the opera or ballet.
We are here to help you both in person and by phone, Monday through Saturday.
Press bulletins, photos and tickets, interview requests and PR staff contact details.
Make a splash and organise a reception at the Opera House.
Performances for children and tips for families.
Fancy a treat? The Opera Restaurant has plenty of delectable options. Services are available before performances and during the interval.
Becoming a regular customer is worth it: see the twelve benefits granted to season ticket holders.
Read about step-free access at the Opera House.
The Opera House is easily accessible by car, public transport and even bicycle.
Find out more about the performances.
Pull back the curtain and take a peek backstage on a guided tour.
Read more about exchanging your ticket, ticket types, flexible pricing, discounts and our sales and delivery terms.