Carmen is an opera (originally an opéra comique) in four acts by the composer Georges Bizet (1838-1875). The libretto was written by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on a Novella by Prosper Mérimée. It was first performed in Paris (Opéra-Comique) on 3 March 1875.


[hide]*1 History


[1]Poster for the premiere of Carmen in 1875

Bizet got after the execution of his successful piece to a new command Djamileh work writing for the Opéra-Comiquetheatre. His opéra comique based on Prosper Mérimées Novella Carmen brought moving, because the subject would be too challenging for the audience of the family theater. The composer was forced to change his piece on a number of points and the emphasis is more on the simple Micaëla and other "conventional" characters to explain. The great support of the fictional story of Célestine Galli-Marié title role Bizet for even more fundamental changes.

Bizet gave with the subject in his opera Carmen kicked off the Verismoopera, a genre that fifteen years later would come to full development and especially the Italian opera would dominate. In this regard, Bizet to be considered a pioneer.

The premiere was not a great success, although the reactions also not certified were negative. After 48 performances production in February1876 by the stage reached. The revival came eight years later, in april 1883. When Galli-Marié in October of that year the title role flowed interpret the Hall time and again went again full. In 1904 , the opéra comique its thousandth performance.

Meanwhile France was Carmen outside become very popular. Already on 23 October 1875 (Bizet was shortly before that, on 3 June, deceased) went a by Ernest Guiraud edited version premiered in Vienna. The spoken dialogue for the opéra-comique were characteristic in this version replaced by Sung recitatives. Other cities soon followed: AntwerpBrussels and Budapest in 1876Saint PetersburgStockholm,LondonDublin and New York in 1878Carmen got a mythical status and the Habanera ("L'amour est un oiseau rebelle..."), the first aria of the title role, has become one of the most famous from the entire opera repertoire.

While the opera world by storm, the work time and time again adapted to local conventions. The original opéra comique is rarely performed, but the "original version" yet still experienced a comeback in the year 1970. Since then also increasingly stepped up again.

Division Of Roles[Edit]Edit

  • Carmen, a gypsy girl- mezzo soprano
  • Frasquita, girlfriend of Carmen- soprano
  • Deman, girlfriend of Carmen- mezzo soprano
  • Le Dancaïro, smuggler- baritone
  • Le Remendado, smuggler tenor
  • Don José, a brigadier tenor
  • Micaëla, a rural girl- soprano
  • Zuniga, Lieutenant of Don José- bass
  • Moralés, brigadier- baritone
  • Escamillo, a bullfighter- baritone
  • Lillas Pastia 's, pub boss-spoken


The prelude already contains a number of main motifs that come back later in the opera, among other things the melody of the famous couplets "Votre toast, your peux vous le rendre" (L'air the toréador). Also the dramatic end of the story announces itself already to.

The Habanera, the aria that Carmen appears on the scene, is undoubtedly one of the most famous opera melodies of all time. This Classic has conquered even a modest place in popular culture. All the more interesting is the fact that Bizet initially on more or less the same text Carmens entrance aria had written for another, and that the Habanera was formed only after various adjustments at the request of prima donna Galli-Marié, who found the original version not powerful enough.


Place: SevilleSpain
Time: 1830

First company[Edit]Edit

On a square in Seville, dominated by a cigar factory, keeps a group of soldiers waiting. When the beautiful Micaëla enters the scene appears it shall withdraw immediately the attention of bored soldiers, who appeal to her. She appears to be looking to the corporal Don José; Since he is not already there trying to persuade her to join them the soldiers wait for the repayment, and meanwhile what to talk. Micaëla, Paragon of rectitude, refuses and saves on the flight when the soldiers insist.

The changing of the guard is here and Don José appears along with Zuniga on the square, where his fellow soldiers tell him about the girl that he was looking for. Don José realizes immediately that it must have been his dorpsgenote Micaëla. At the same time, the girls of the cigar factory outside for a break. The smoking women reveal themselves by their flirted with the soldiers and civilians on the square as the opposites of the chaste Micaëla. The most challenging of them is Carmen, who soon surrounded by a bunch of worshippers. Carmen makes them (in her first aria) clear, however, that her love for her nothing more than a game. When they Don José points out, waiting on the phlegmatic Micaëla casts them him tempting a cassia-flour, and then in the factory to disappear. The bewildered Don José do not know what he flirted with the mysterious combo, is convinced that Carmen is a witch, but keeps the flower well with him.

A lot of time to think about the wondrous event, however, he has not found him now, as Micaëla has. They Don José brings a letter from his mother and kisses him on behalf of her, which both of them, naive, embarrassed. The precise contents of the letter is not explained, but after Don José has read him he decides to obey his mother: he will marry his beloved Micaëla and return to his home village.

The gathering of Micaëla and José is abruptly disrupted by unrest at the cigar factory: Carmen turns out to have attacked another girl and Don José must arrest her. Once they know José Carmen is alone with him to win by promising him her love. He believes her and helps Carmen to escape.

Second company[Edit]Edit

Lillas Pastia's Tavern In the focus forward to the on the tables dancing Carmen. Zuniga and Escamillo the Bullfighter can hold off their eyes not of her. As is the absolute polar opposite of Carmen, Maria is the tough, powerful Escamillo in great contrast to the dutiful and naive Don José. Escamillo is a man who can handle a woman like Carmen and she immediately falls for him.Despite this, she is not yet in on his advances, partly of banter, partly because they Don José, which because of its complicity in Carmens escape jail and degraded, yet does not want to give up.

Carmen are trying to do in the meantime a smuggling action with some of her fellow Gypsies. They actually want this time don't get involved and the smugglers say goodbye to life because of her love for the soldier Don José. Her friends are not impressed. They have heard this more often and Carmens romances never last longer than a month ...

Carmen ends the conversation with her companions as Don José, just released that evening, to the Inn on the road turns out to be. She provides that Escamillo and Zuniga away, so they only with José is. Don José is torn between two worlds: he is hopelessly in love with Carmen, but also want to comply with his duty as a soldier. Carmens temperament plays tricks on him soon: she makes him jealous, try to get him with the smugglers the mountains and the two get in a fight. Don José is about to leave to leave as Zuniga and Carmen finally appears on the scene to declare his love to Carmen. It comes to a fight for her favors between the jealous José and his multiple. Don José WINS and faces a difficult choice: deserting to join the smugglers, or again a heavy punishment. He opts for the first, albeit reluctantly.

Third party company[Edit]Edit

Arrived in the shelter of the smugglers, it turns out that it's wrong between Don José and Carmen. She has had enough of him, but he still loves her. To stop the endless bickering between the two is sent away as far as possible from Don José Carmen; He must keep the wait go away. Meanwhile reads Carmen with her friends the cards. She sees the death-the tragic end of the story is announced.

Escamillo appears on the scene and found the smugglers to Carmen to make the Court. Don José is again torn apart by jealousy and challenges Escamillo to a duel. Of course, dominates the toreador the fight, but by a stroke of luck can overpower him Don José. However, before he can give the final blow comes Escamillo Carmen between them. Escamillo welcomes the fact that Carmen has saved his life and says he just stop by came to invite her to his next Bullfight. Carmen agrees, which Don jaloerser José still makes.

Micaëla appears suddenly, which José begs his dying mother one last time to look up. Carmen is happy with this turn of events: at last they will of those frumpy Don José have been redeemed.Don José must go along with Micaëla, but also know that Carmen looking forward about his departure. He allays her that she will be rid of him only if he has blown out his last breath.

Act IV[Edit]Edit

The Bullfight of Escamillo is near, the square in front of the arena is full of people. Carmen enters the arena triumphant on the side of Escamillo, now her lover is. One warns her that also Don José is around, but Carmen is not afraid to be confronted with him. Suddenly they stand face to face with each other. Don José begs Carmen to her love, but she points him contemptuously throws off and even his ring in his face. She will remain at her word: beyond is over. Josés supplication turns into anger and jealousy, he starts to threaten her with his knife, Carmen assuring that he will kill her if they don't come back at him. Carmen will rather die than admit to him and thus her freedom to lose. Don José can no longer restrain his emotions and sticking her down, at the same moment Escamillo kills the bull in the arena. The public calls bravo, festive music is heard. When the spectators in the arena take full party mood leave, they Don José with a bloody knife at the dead body of Carmen. He confesses to have killed her sobered up. How sincere love was shown by the last words of the opera, sung by a howling Don José who has taken the body of Carmen in his arms: "Ma Carmen adorée!". My beloved Carmen!


Film versions of the novel or the opera:

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