Carmen

by Georges Bizet

At the San Diego Civic Theatre

Carmen is one fiery gypsy woman…a femme fatale who lives life on her own provocative terms. The next notch on her belt is the naïve soldier Don Jose who is bewitched by her passion and gives up everything to be with her, including his sweetheart Micaela. In her true heartless fashion, Carmen becomes bored and callously drops her young lover when her path collides with the macho bullfighting Escamillo. Obsessed and alone, will Don Jose’s jealousy ignite an emotional bonfire that destroys them all.

Carmen is an archetype of literature and art set to passionate music that will burn up the stage with its unbridled drama and incredible music, including the “Toreador Song” and the seductive “Habanera.” Set in classic Spain, this traditional production has all of the lust, jealousy, revenge, and heart-stopping drama you’ve come to expect from Bizet’s powerful opera.


Sung in French with projected English translations.

The approximate run time is three hours and fifteen minutes, including one intermission.

PODCASTS

Monday, August 6, 2018

Carmen: Interview with David Bennett

Bizet's opera Carmen is right up there with La boheme and Aida in terms of popularity, and so it returns to SDO with a new production for us, and a brilliant new cast of young singers. In this interview with General Director David Bennett, he talks about the return of opera's favorite femme fatale! 


Friday, January 12, 2018

Maria de Buenos Aires: Meet Audrey Babcock

Mezzo-soprano Audrey Babcock is singing her role debut in our production of Maria de Buenos Aires. A veteran singer of the role of Carmen, her voice and theatrical personality are perfect for Maria. In this podcast episode she talks about her take on the character and the fascinating libretto of Horacio Ferrer. Enjoy!


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Meeting Germont: Baritone Stephen Powell

Stephen Powell has been a company favorite for twenty years, having started with us in a production of Carmen as Dancaire in 1997. Back now for Germont in La traviata, he has much to say in this interview about the role, his career and the state of opera in the United States. 


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Word about The Tragedy of Carmen

The Tragedy of Carmen is not Carmen! Although you'll easily recognize Bizet's music, this is a version of the opera as a musical theatre piece devised by famed director Peter Brook to tell the story in a completely new way...or perhaps, depending on your point of view, the original way. Check out this video...Dr. Nic explains it all for you!


Friday, January 27, 2017

The Tragedy of Carmen: A Preview

This isn't your grandma's Carmen! This is a version of the Bizet opera devised by eminent director Peter Brook back in the '80s in an attempt to focus intensely on the story and the important relationships in it. More based on the Prosper Merimee novella upon which the Bizet is based, The Tragedy of Carmen brings us much closer to the characters, especially the elemental power of the main character, while still using the great tunes and musical moments that we all know and love. In this conversation with Nic Reveles, stage director Alexander Gedeon gives us a preview of his take on this fascinating piece, complete with sneak peaks at video sequences by Yuki Izumihara and renderings of the costumes that will be used in our production by costume designer Adam Alonso. Enjoy!


CARMEN

Act I
In Seville by a cigarette factory, soldiers comment on the townspeople. Among them is Micaëla, a peasant girl, who asks for a corporal named Don José. Moralès, another corporal, tells her he will return with the changing of the guard. The relief guard, headed by Lieutenant Zuniga, soon arrives, and José learns from Moralès that Micaëla has been looking for him. When the factory bell rings, the men of Seville gather to watch the female workers—especially their favorite, the Gypsy Carmen. She tells her admirers that love is free and obeys no rules. Only one man pays no attention to her: Don José. Carmen throws a flower at him, and the girls go back to work. José picks up the flower and hides it when Micaëla returns. She brings a letter from José’s mother, who lives in a village in the countryside. As he begins to read the letter, Micaëla leaves. José is about to throw away the flower when a fight erupts inside the factory between Carmen and another girl. Zuniga sends José to retrieve the Gypsy. Carmen refuses to answer Zuniga’s questions, and José is ordered to take her to prison. Left alone with him, she entices José with suggestions of a rendezvous at Lillas Pastia’s tavern. Mesmerized, he agrees to let her get away. As they leave for prison, Carmen escapes. Don José is arrested.

Act II
Carmen and her friends Frasquita and Mercédès entertain the guests at the tavern. Zuniga tells Carmen that José has just been released. The bullfighter Escamillo enters, boasting about the pleasures of his profession, and flirts with Carmen, who tells him that she is involved with someone else. After the tavern guests have left with Escamillo, the smugglers Dancaïre and Remendado explain their latest scheme to the women. Frasquita and Mercédès are willing to help, but Carmen refuses because she is in love. The smugglers withdraw as José approaches. Carmen arouses his jealousy by telling him how she danced for Zuniga. She dances for him now, but when a bugle call is heard he says he must return to the barracks. Carmen mocks him. To prove his love, José shows her the flower she threw at him and confesses how its scent made him not lose hope during the weeks in prison. She is unimpressed: if he really loved her, he would desert the army and join her in a life of freedom in the mountains. José refuses, and Carmen tells him to leave. Zuniga bursts in, and in a jealous rage José fights him. The smugglers return and disarm Zuniga. José now has no choice but to join them.

Act III
Carmen and José quarrel in the smugglers’ mountain hideaway. She admits that her love is fading and advises him to return to live with his mother. When Frasquita and Mercédès turn the cards to tell their fortunes, they foresee love and riches for themselves, but Carmen’s cards spell death—for her and for José. Micaëla appears, frightened by the mountains and afraid to meet the woman who has turned José into a criminal. She hides when a shot rings out. José has fired at an intruder, who turns out to be Escamillo. He tells José that he has come to find Carmen, and the two men fight. The smugglers separate them, and Escamillo invites everyone, Carmen in particular, to his next bullfight. When he has left, Micaëla emerges and begs José to return home. He agrees when he learns that his mother is dying, but before he leaves he warns Carmen that they will meet again.

Act IV
Back in Seville, the crowd cheers the bullfighters on their way to the arena. Carmen arrives on Escamillo’s arm, and Frasquita and Mercédès warn her that José is nearby. Unafraid, she waits outside the entrance as the crowds enter the arena. José appears and begs Carmen to forget the past and start a new life with him. She calmly tells him that their affair is over: she was born free and free she will die. The crowd is heard cheering Escamillo. José keeps trying to win Carmen back. She takes off his ring and throws it at his feet before heading for the arena. Full of rage, José takes her life while the crowd inside the arena cheers Escamillo’s victory.