G. Bizet — Carmen

Opera in 2 acts and 4 scenes

Act 1

Scene 1

A square in Seville. Caserne. The soldiers are observing the passers-by. Michaela appears, seeking José, who is supposed to come a bit later when the guard changes.  The beautiful peasant woman takes herself off, setting aside the soldiers chasing about her.

José arrives with the guard shift. The captain Zuniga is interested in the women working on the cigarette factory. José is not. His heart is devoted to Michaela.

The factory workers are on break. Along with the workers, surrounded by admirers, Carmen appears. José is the only man to disregard the gypsy. That makes Carmen indignant.  She throws a flower to José to challenge him and rushes back to the work.

José picks up the rose. The girl’s charm has cast a spell upon the man.

Michaela returns. She brought little money, big love and a letter from his mother.

As Michaela leaves, the fuss starts at the factory.  Jose enters the factory carrying Carmen with him and telling Zuniga that there was a fight between women. Carmen has attacked one of the women with a knife.

As the captain is busy making the internal document, the gypsy woman flirts with José. And the flirt was not futile. While taking Carmen to the prison, José helps her to escape. Instead, he is the one to be caught and put in prison.

Scene 2

An inn as a shelter for the smugglers. Carmen is having fun with the friends of hers. Zuniga is also present, whom the gypsy woman has also cast a spell upon with her charm. He informs Carmen that the man who rescued her will come to meet her by all means.

Surrounded by admirers the glorious toreador Escamillo appears charmed by Carmen’s beauty as well. However Carmen resists him.

The smugglers are the ones only left at the inn. They offer Carmen to join them in their dangerous job. Carmen rejects the offer saying that she is still expecting her rescuer to arrive in order to express her gratitude towards him for what he has done.

As the sergeant arrives, Carmen makes attempts to cajole him with a dance. The horn declares that all the soldiers must gather at the casern, and disciplined José is about to go. Carmen rages at his choice of service instead of love. José concedes to her by showing the rose he was keeping close to his heartas consolation while being arrested.

Zuniga returns and orders the young man to go back to the casern. He also claims Carmen’s attention and sympathy. In rage, José is ready to pass his sword against Zuniga. But there is nothing else the soldier can do than to refuse to obey and join the smugglers.

Act 2

Scene 1

Exhausted by the tough way they took, the smugglers are taking rest in the mountains. José is not able to take his new lifestyle. The man with tender recalls his mother and the ideal life he had, knowing that there is no way back to what he had. Carmen, having noticed his gloominess, tries to tell their fortune from the cards. The death is expecting him in future.

The smugglers are ready to continue their way. They leave José to guard their loot. Michaela appears unexpectedly, having followed the smugglers’ steps. She has brought tragic news: her mother is near to death and her only will is to see her son before she passes away.

A close shot is heard. It is José’s shot towards Escamillo, though beside the mark. Escamillo is used to look into the death’s eyes. The toreador confesses he is also in love with Carmen, and that is the reason he followed the smugglers. The fight with swords could have brought victory to José unless Carmen broke into.

The loss doesn’t bitter Escamillo. On the contrary, he is sure he owns Carmen and invites her to Seville to attend his bullfight. The gypsy woman is ready to follow him, but José stands on her way.

Exactly at that moment Michaela appears, and, frightened, tells the reason why she has taken such a dangerous step. The news about his mother being near to death distresses him, and José, struggling with the passion of love, decides to go with Michaela.

Escamillo’s song is heard from the far. Carmen listens to the song being full of love.

Scene 2

The crowd warmly welcomes the toreadors’ march. Escamillo appears being led by Carmen.

The friends warn Carmen that José is in the crowd disguised. Carmen doesn’t pay attention to the warnings and goes forward to the fight area. At that moment José turns up in front of her. He loves Carmen as he used to and is ready to forgive her for everything, if only she returned. However Carmen is steady in her decisions, she still loves Escamillo not him, and will never go back to José. She throws the ring José has presented her.

Once a soldier, being hopeless and maddened he passes his sword against… his love.