Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) 20 May 2024 - Carmen | GoComGo.com

Carmen

Royal Opera House (Covent Garden), London, Great Britain
All photos (7)
Select date and time
7 PM

E-tickets: Print at home or at the box office of the event if so specified. You will find more information in your booking confirmation email.

You can only select the category, and not the exact seats.
If you order 2 or 3 tickets: your seats will be next to each other.
If you order 4 or more tickets: your seats will be next to each other, or, if this is not possible, we will provide a combination of groups of seats (at least in pairs, for example 2+2 or 2+3).

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: London, Great Britain
Starts at: 19:00

E-tickets: Print at home or at the box office of the event if so specified. You will find more information in your booking confirmation email.

You can only select the category, and not the exact seats.
If you order 2 or 3 tickets: your seats will be next to each other.
If you order 4 or more tickets: your seats will be next to each other, or, if this is not possible, we will provide a combination of groups of seats (at least in pairs, for example 2+2 or 2+3).

Overview

The untamable heroine of Bizet’s ever-popular opera returns.

Damiano Michieletto’s searing production returns, casting a new light on the lust, violence and passion of Bizet’s ever-popular opera.

In a remote Spanish town, the free-spirited Carmen declares that any man she loves should beware. But even she is unprepared for what happens when she decides to seduce police officer Don José. Though initially uninterested in Carmen’s charms, Don José – against the wishes of his mother and of Micaëla, the woman who loves him – soon abandons his respectable career for a life of danger with Carmen, joining her and her smuggler friends as they outrun the law. But Carmen quickly wearies of Don José's possessiveness, longing to return to her life of independence. When she turns her attention to the celebrated toreador Escamillo, Don José’s jealousy and despair threaten to violently erupt.

CLASSIC WORK, CONTEMPORARY PRODUCTION
Bizet took the plot of Carmen from the popular novella of the same name by French writer Prosper Mérimée, who claimed to be inspired by a true story. Though it earned a lukewarm response from the press and public at its premiere – in part due to its heady combination of passion, sensuality and violence – the opera soon became immensely popular and remains an enduring favourite today. In fact, Carmen is the second most performed opera in The Royal Opera’s repertory, having been performed over 600 times. 

CATCHY MELODIES
Drawing from the opera's setting of Seville, Bizet’s unforgettable score boasts a host of Spanish-inspired melodies, including Carmen's sensual ‘Habanera’ and ‘Seguidilla’ arias, and Don José's tender ‘Flower Song’, ‘La fleur que tu m'avais jetée’ (The flower that you threw to me). The composer’s gift for writing memorable melodies reaches its peak in the flamboyance and masculinity of Escamillo’s ‘Toreador Song’, one of the most instantly recognisable arias in all classical music.

CO-PRODUCTION WITH Teatro Real, Madrid and La Scala, Milan

History
Premiere of this production: 03 March 1875, Opéra-Comique, Paris

Carmen is an opera in four acts by French composer Georges Bizet. The libretto was written by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on a novella of the same title by Prosper Mérimée. The opera was first performed by the Opéra-Comique in Paris on 3 March 1875, where its breaking of conventions shocked and scandalized its first audiences.

Synopsis

Place: Seville, Spain, and surrounding hills
Time: Around 1820

Act 1

A square, in Seville. On the right, a door to the tobacco factory. At the back, a bridge. On the left, a guardhouse.

A group of soldiers relaxes in the square, waiting for the changing of the guard and commenting on the passers-by ("Sur la place, chacun passe"). Micaëla appears, seeking José. Moralès tells her that "José is not yet on duty" and invites her to wait with them. She declines, saying she will return later. José arrives with the new guard, who is greeted and imitated by a crowd of urchins ("Avec la garde montante").

As the factory bell rings, the cigarette girls emerge and exchange banter with young men in the crowd ("La cloche a sonné"). Carmen enters and sings her provocative habanera on the untameable nature of love ("L'amour est un oiseau rebelle"). The men plead with her to choose a lover, and after some teasing she throws a flower to Don José, who thus far has been ignoring her but is now annoyed by her insolence.

As the women go back to the factory, Micaëla returns and gives José a letter and a kiss from his mother ("Parle-moi de ma mère!"). He reads that his mother wants him to return home and marry Micaëla, who retreats in shy embarrassment on learning this. Just as José declares that he is ready to heed his mother's wishes, the women stream from the factory in great agitation. Zuniga, the officer of the guard, learns that Carmen has attacked a woman with a knife. When challenged, Carmen answers with mocking defiance ("Tra la la... Coupe-moi, brûle-moi"); Zuniga orders José to tie her hands while he prepares the prison warrant. Left alone with José, Carmen beguiles him with a seguidilla, in which she sings of a night of dancing and passion with her lover—whoever that may be—in Lillas Pastia's tavern. Confused yet mesmerised, José agrees to free her hands; as she is led away she pushes her escort to the ground and runs off laughing. José is arrested for dereliction of duty.

Act 2

Lillas Pastia's Inn

Two months have passed. Carmen and her friends Frasquita and Mercédès are entertaining Zuniga and other officers ("Les tringles des sistres tintaient") in Pastia's inn. Carmen is delighted to learn of José's release from two months' detention. Outside, a chorus and procession announces the arrival of the toreador Escamillo ("Vivat, vivat le Toréro"). Invited inside, he introduces himself with the "Toreador Song" ("Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre") and sets his sights on Carmen, who brushes him aside. Lillas Pastia hustles the crowds and the soldiers away.

When only Carmen, Frasquita and Mercédès remain, smugglers Dancaïre and Remendado arrive and reveal their plans to dispose of some recently acquired contraband ("Nous avons en tête une affaire"). Frasquita and Mercédès are keen to help them, but Carmen refuses, since she wishes to wait for José. After the smugglers leave, José arrives. Carmen treats him to a private exotic dance ("Je vais danser en votre honneur ... La la la"), but her song is joined by a distant bugle call from the barracks. When José says he must return to duty, she mocks him, and he answers by showing her the flower that she threw to him in the square ("La fleur que tu m'avais jetée"). Unconvinced, Carmen demands he show his love by leaving with her. José refuses to desert, but as he prepares to depart, Zuniga enters looking for Carmen. He and José fight, and are separated by the returning smugglers, who restrain Zuniga. Having attacked a superior officer, José now has no choice but to join Carmen and the smugglers ("Suis-nous à travers la campagne").

Act 3

A wild spot in the mountains

Carmen and José enter with the smugglers and their booty ("Écoute, écoute, compagnons"); Carmen has now become bored with José and tells him scornfully that he should go back to his mother. Frasquita and Mercédès amuse themselves by reading their fortunes from the cards; Carmen joins them and finds that the cards are foretelling her death, and José's. The women depart to suborn the customs officers who are watching the locality. José is placed on guard duty.

Micaëla enters with a guide, seeking José and determined to rescue him from Carmen ("Je dis que rien ne m'épouvante"). On hearing a gunshot she hides in fear; it is José, who has fired at an intruder who proves to be Escamillo. José's pleasure at meeting the bullfighter turns to anger when Escamillo declares his infatuation with Carmen. The pair fight ("Je suis Escamillo, toréro de Grenade"), but are interrupted by the returning smugglers and girls ("Holà, holà José"). As Escamillo leaves he invites everyone to his next bullfight in Seville. Micaëla is discovered; at first, José will not leave with her despite Carmen's mockery, but he agrees to go when told that his mother is dying. As he departs, vowing he will return, Escamillo is heard in the distance, singing the toreador's song.

Act 4

A square in Seville. At the back, the walls of an ancient amphitheatre

Zuniga, Frasquita and Mercédès are among the crowd awaiting the arrival of the bullfighters ("Les voici ! Voici la quadrille!"). Escamillo enters with Carmen, and they express their mutual love ("Si tu m'aimes, Carmen"). As Escamillo goes into the arena, Frasquita and Mercedes warn Carmen that José is nearby, but Carmen is unafraid and willing to speak to him. Alone, she is confronted by the desperate José ("C'est toi ! C'est moi !"). While he pleads vainly for her to return to him, cheers are heard from the arena. As José makes his last entreaty, Carmen contemptuously throws down the ring he gave her and attempts to enter the arena. He then stabs her, and as Escamillo is acclaimed by the crowds, Carmen dies. José kneels and sings "Ah! Carmen! ma Carmen adorée!"; as the crowd exits the arena, José confesses to killing the woman he loved.

Venue Info

Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) - London
Location   Bow St, Covent Garden

The Royal Opera House (ROH) is an opera house and major performing arts venue in London and Great Britain. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.

The large building is often referred to as simply "Covent Garden", after a previous use of the site of the opera house's original construction in 1732. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Originally called the Theatre Royal, it served primarily as a playhouse for the first hundred years of its history. In 1734, the first ballet was presented. A year later, Handel's first season of operas began. Many of his operas and oratorios were specifically written for Covent Garden and had their premieres there.

The current building is the third theatre on the site following disastrous fires in 1808 and 1856. The façade, foyer, and auditorium date from 1858, but almost every other element of the present complex dates from an extensive reconstruction in the 1990s. The main auditorium seats 2,256 people, making it the third largest in London, and consists of four tiers of boxes and balconies and the amphitheatre gallery. The proscenium is 12.20 m wide and 14.80 m high. The main auditorium is a Grade I listed building.

The Royal Opera, under the direction of Antonio Pappano, is one of the world’s leading opera companies. Based in the iconic Covent Garden theatre, it is renowned both for its outstanding performances of traditional opera and for commissioning new works by today’s leading opera composers, such as Harrison Birtwistle, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Thomas Adès.

The Royal Ballet is one of the world’s greatest ballet companies. Under the directorship of Kevin O’Hare, the Company unites tradition and innovation in world-class performances at our Covent Garden home.

The Company’s extensive repertory embraces 19th-century classics, the singular legacy of works by Founder Choreographer Frederick Ashton and Principal Choreographer Kenneth MacMillan and a compelling new canon by Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor and Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon.

The Orchestra performs in concerts of their own, including performances at the Royal Opera House with Antonio Pappano. They have also performed at venues worldwide including Symphony Hall (Birmingham), Cadogan Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus and on tour with The Royal Opera.

Members of the Orchestra play an active role in events across the Royal Opera House, including working with the Learning and Participation teams. The Orchestra accompanies performances that are streamed all over the world, including through cinema screenings and broadcasts. They appear on many CDs and DVDs including Pappano’s acclaimed studio recording of Tristan und Isolde with Plácido Domingo and Nina Stemme.

The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House was founded in 1946 when the Royal Opera House reopened after World War II.

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: London, Great Britain
Starts at: 19:00
Top of page