THE TRAGEDY OF CARMEN
(La tragédie de Carmen)

by Peter Brook

All performances at The Balboa Theatre

If you don't love me, I love you;
if I love you, look out for yourself!

Gypsy Carmen is a sizzling seductress, but play with her and you will get burned. Naïve young soldier Don Jose falls for her, leaving his homespun sweetheart Micaela in pursuit of a life of crime and lust with Carmen and her band. But when Carmen callously drops him for Escamillo the strutting bullfighter, jealousy ignites and Don Jose is pushed to the brink. Passions intensify and burst into an emotional bonfire that threatens to destroy them all.

Peter Brook’s gripping adaptation brings Bizet’s opera back to its origins of sexual intrigue, power, and complexity. In this distilled 90-minute production, Carmen’s embrace of her dark fate is elevated from an act of submission to an assertion of power.

Visceral and explosive, this highly-stylized production of The Tragedy of Carmen explores the boundaries of where opera and theatre meet.

For mature audiences. Contains nudity and adult themes.

All performances at The Balboa Theatre
In French with projected English supertitles - Learn more »

There will be pre-performance lectures prior to each performance of The Tragedy of Carmen. Pre-opera lectures for the 7pm performances begin at 6pm. Pre-opera lecture for the 2pm matinee begins at 1pm.

THE TRAGEDY OF CARMEN
(La tragédie de Carmen)


Micaëla, a young country girl, arrives in Seville looking for her childhood sweetheart, Don José. She brings him a letter from his mother. A gypsy, Carmen, throws a flower to the young corporal and sings an erotic love song.

The two girls fight and José's superior, Zuniga, appears. Unable to control Carmen, he orders José to take her to jail. En route, Carmen promises José that if he lets her escape she will meet him at the inn of her friend Lillias Pastia. José lets Carmen go, whereupon Zuniga locks him up and takes away the corporal's rank. Carmen arrives at the inn with stolen goods. Zuniga comes to see Carmen and offers money for her favors. Carmen accepts, but shortly thereafter Jose enters.

Carmen abandons Zuniga and sings for José. At this moment the bugles blow, summoning José back to the barracks. Carmen is furious and taunts him; the situation becomes tense. José discovers Zuniga, loses control and kills the officer.

The body is quickly hidden as Escamillo, a famous bullfighter, enters. Buying drinks all around, he announces that he, too, wants Carmen. José, jealous, picks a fight with Escamillo. Carmen separates them and Escamillo withdraws, inviting all to his next bullfight.

José, who has now killed for Carmen, sings of his love for her. They go to the mountains where an old gypsy woman unites them.

While they are sleeping, Garcia appears at the camp. He is Carmen's husband, though she has hidden his existence from José. The two men challenge each other and as they go off to fight, Carmen reads her tragic fate in the cards. The song ends, Garcia returns wounded and falls dead at Carmen's feet.

Micaëla appears again searching for José; the two women seem to understand each other. They sing while José, twice a murderer and abandoned by Carmen, flees. Carmen becomes Escamillo's mistress. José returns to persuade her to leave with him to start a new life. She refuses, knowing she is putting her life in jeopardy.

Escamillo is killed in the bullring. Carmen still refuses José's offer, but she goes with him as far as the place where the cards have foretold that she will die.

Coming Soon!