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Music: Georges Bizet Lyrics: Henri Meilhac och Ludovic Halevy after Prosper Merimée novell
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Première at the 3 mars 1875 at Opera-Comique in Paris.
|Don José||tenor||Ulric Andersson|
|Escamillo||baritone||Krister St. Hill|
At the barracks in Seville the beautiful Micaela is searching for the soldier Don Jose. His colleague Morales tells her that Jose hasn't turned up, she decides to return later. Having just arrived in Seville Lieutenant Zuniga inquires with great interest the belated Jose about the girls at the tobacco factory. But Zuniga quickly discovers that Jose has no concern for girls - only the young and innocent Micaela from the village.
One girl in particular from the factory is in demand, the exquisite gypsy Carmen. She sings and provokes the men - Jose is the only one who shows no interest. And of course Carmen throws him a flower. Micaela returns and Jose attempts to erase every thought of Carmen from his mind.He loves Micaela and will marry her.
Carmen has been arrested for fighting with another girl. It is Jose's task to lead her to prison.but Carmen knows what to do, she entices Jose to meet with her. He lets her go and is degraded and incarcerated.
The girls Mercedes and Frasquita entertain the soldiers with Carmen. The favoured bullfighter Escamillo turns up, and shows great interest in Carmen. Carmen's smuggler companions try to lure her into joining them on a quick little plunder.but neither they nor the handsome Escamillo can tempt her. She must wait for Don Jose, who is to be released after spending a month in prison.
Upon Jose's arrival Carmen dances seductively for him. A trumpet sounds, calling him to the barracks, and she mocks him for leaving so soon.Jose declares his love for Carmen, and shows her the flower she threw him; it helped him through his time in prison.At that moment Zuniga appears to meet with Carmen Jose is furiously jealous and challenges the lieutenant to a duel. The smugglers disarm Zuniga, and Jose must join Carmen's friends and live as an outlaw.
Carmen quickly tires of Jose, and instead devotes herself to Escamillo. In the smugglers' den Micaela appears looking for Don Jose. Only now he is totally obsessed with Carmen. A duel between Escamillo and José is imminent, but Carmen steps in.Micaela announces that Jose's mother is dying,he must leave immediately. When Jose returns Carmen's relationship with Escamillo is official.
Jose seeks revenge - Frasquita and Mercedes try to warn Carmen. But Carmen is proud and not afraid to confront her former lover. Now desperate with love, he tries everything to win Carmen back; begging and pleading - but in vain. Carmen was born free - and will die so too!
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