Bizet created opera's foremost femme fatale, the gypsy Carmen, whose irresistable allure draws men to their doom.
Composer Georges Bizet
Librettists Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy
Sung in French
Near a cigarette factory in a square, a group of soldiers gather. Micaëla, a peasant girl approaches them and inquires about a corporal, Don José. She is teased and leaves. Don José arrives at the changing of the guard and learns that Micaëla has been looking for him. The factory bell rings and the men watch the women – especially the gypsy Carmen – arrive in the square. She tells the men about love and freedom. The one man who pays her no attention, Don José, is the one Carmen throws a flower to. The women return to work and José hides the flower. Micaëla returns with a letter and kisses from his mother.
A fight breaks out at the cigarette factory involving Carmen, and Lieutenant Zuniga orders José to take Carmen to prison. She seduces José and suggests a rendezvous at Pastia’s tavern. He agrees to let her escape, and then he himself is arrested.
At Lillas Pastia’s tavern, Carmen, Frasquita, and Mercédes celebrate the gypsy life. The toreador Escamillo enters and flirts with Carmen. The smugglers Dancaïre and Remendado enter and explain their latest operation to Carmen and her friends. She refuses to join them as she is in love with and waiting for José. He arrives at the tavern and she dances for him. When a bugle sounds, José says he must return to the barracks and she becomes angry. José shows her the flower she gave him that he had kept throughout prison. Carmen insists that if he really loved her, he would desert the army. Zuniga interrupts the pair, provoking José, and the smugglers return and disarm Zuniga. José now has no choice but to join the gypsies.
In a mountain hideaway, Carmen and José quarrel. She tells him her love is waning and that he should return to his mother. Carmen joins Frasquita and Mercédes who find wealth and fortune in their fortune cards, but Carmen only finds death for herself and José. Micaëla wanders into the mountains and is startled by a gunshot: José has fired at Escamillo who is in search of Carmen. The two fight until the smugglers break it up. The toreador invites everyone, especially Carmen, to a bullfight. Micaëla appears and pleads with José to return to his dying mother, and José agrees but warns Carmen that she will see him again.
At a bullfight, a crowd cheers for Ecamillo’s arrival. Carmen and the toreador declare their love for each other although José is nearby. José begs Carmen to start a new life with him, but she says their affair is over. She says she loves Escamillo and throws at José the ring he gave her. He stabs her to death.
- Carmen (6/27 - 7/18) - Regina Sarfaty
- Carmen (6/27 - 7/18) - Mary McMurray
- Micaëla - Joanna Neal
- Micaëla - Doris Yarick
- Don José - Charles O'Neill
- Escamillo - Martial Singher
- Escamillo - Theodor Uppman
- Zuniga - Russell Love
- Le Dancairo - William Wahman
- Le Remendado - James Wilson
- Morales - Rodney Stenborg
- Frasquita - Lynn Blair
- Mercedes - Marcia Baldwin
- Conductor - Robert Craft
- Director - Bill Butler
- Scenic Designer - Henry Heymann
- Costume Designer - Henry Heymann
- Lighting Designer - Robert L. Benson
- Choreographer - Thomas Andrew
- Chorus Master - John Moriarty