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
Note: portrays mature subject matter
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 one named 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 who receives a flower from Carmen. The women return to work and José hides the flower. Micaëla returns with a letter and a kiss 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, but he is arrested.
At Lillas Pastia’s tavern, Carmen, Frasquita, and Mercédès celebrate their independent lifestyle. 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 smugglers.
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 Mercédès, who find wealth and fortune in their cards, but Carmen only finds death. 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 the bullfight, the crowd cheers for Escamillo’s arrival. Carmen and the toreador declare their love for each other even though José is nearby. José begs Carmen to start a new life with him, but she says their affair is over. She throws José's ring back at him, and 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