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Liam Scarlett – Georges Bizet


2 h 50 min, incl. 2 intervals (25 min)
14.1.2023 – 3.2.2023
Main Stage
Price range
20-119 €
Age recommendation

A fiery ballet of the classic story

The fateful love story of the world’s most popular opera with Bizet’s tantalising tunes takes to the ballet stage. Liam Scarlett’s choreography is set in a cigarette factory in 1930s Spain, just before the start of the civil war. It’s a world in which everyone must fend for themselves in order to stay alive. The dramatic ballet premiered at the Norwegian National Ballet in 2015.

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Micaëla has travelled from a nearby village to a cigarette factory to see her teenage sweetheart, Don José, in order to deliver a message from his mother. The women working at the factory are supervised by a guard, Zuniga. The atmosphere is tense. The monotony of factory labour is only interrupted by the changing of the guard. After Zuniga’s departure, Carmen entertains the guards and notices Don José, throwing a flower to him. Micaëla finally meets Don José and their old feelings are reignited. The encounter is interrupted by a scream from the factory: a fight has erupted between Carmen and the other women. She is taken away from the others and Don José is assigned to guard her. To get away, Carmen seduces Don José, who is arrested for his negligence.

Carmen and her friends have taken refuge in a tavern. The famous bullfighter, Escamillo, arrives and seduces Carmen. The next day, Escamillo leaves and Don José arrives, declaring his love to Carmen.

Carmen and Don José plan to run away together and get married. Don José travels to the romani camp to wait for Carmen, but before leaving to join him, Carmen runs into Escamillo. He promises her a perfect life by his side. Carmen writes in a letter to Don José that she doesn’t love him after all. Micaëla arrives at the tavern and she is trusted with delivering the letter to the camp. At the camp, Micaëla tries to talk Don José to follow her, but he professes his love for Carmen. Having read Carmen’s letter, Don José falls into despair.

At a party to celebrate Escamillo’s victorious bullfight and marriage, Carmen starts to doubt whether she should’ve ever got married. Don José still tries to convince Carmen to run away with him. Consumed by his passion, Don José stabs Carmen to death. Carmen dies in his arms.

You can read the full synopsis and other background information in the programme leaflet.

creative team

Liam Scarlett
Georges Bizet
Musical arrangement
Martin Yates
Mikhail Agrest, Kalle Kuusava
Jon Bausor
Jon Bausor
Lighting Design
James Farncombe


Rebecca King
Don José
Johan Pakkanen
Don José
Frans Valkama
Don José
Jun Xia
Tuukka Piitulainen
Alfio Drago
Jonathan Rodrigues
Tiina Myllymäki
Iga Krata
Violetta Keller

A production of the Norwegian National Ballet.

More about the work

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performances and tickets

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