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Carmen © Jeff Busby

Bizet Carmen

From 04 March TO 13 March 2020
Sydney Opera House - Sydney

Bizet : Carmen

2 h 50 Sung in : French
  • Conductor
    Tahu Matheson
  • Director
    John Bell
  • Performers
    Carmen: Carmen Topciu
    Don José: Yonghoon Lee
    Escamillo: Luke Gabbedy
    Micaela: Simona Mihai
Details on the Performance

She sings her siren song, and suddenly, Don José's world is alight with a volatile fire.
This vibrant production features glamorous girls and bullfighting boys in eye-popping colours. There are smugglers in suits, parades and punches, lust and loathing aplenty.
Irresistible Spanish tunes include the famous Toreador Song and flirty Habanera. Underneath those infectious rhythms, the dark undercurrent of fate pulses. Carmen knows she is dancing with death.
John Bell's production is a bold look at the intense relationships at the heart of this opera. It hones in on the wild love that promises freedom, while binding the lovers in an unbreakable web of fate.

Source © Sydney Opera House


  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis

Sydney Opera House - Sydney Location Bennelong Point - NSW 2000 Sydney Australie

The Venue's History in few words …

The Sydney Opera House Restaurant, the Bennelong is very nice, to discover !


In 1884, a young Australian soprano, Helen Mitchell, gave her first concert in Melbourne. Later acclaimed as one of the most breathtaking coloraturas, she took the stage name Nellie Melba, in souvenir of the city of her début. After growing success greeted her from Paris to New York, from Saint Petersburg to London and Milano, she decided to organize opera tours in her native country. These tours no doubt marked the beginnings of opera in Australia. But it was not before 1973 that the country built an opera house worthy of the birthplace of two of the century's most important coloraturas: Nellie Melba, of course, and Joan Sutherland.


Nevertheless, as of the fifties, a small group of local résidents, backed by the conductor Eugène Goossens, demanded the construction of a modem concert hall in Sydney. The site was rapidly chosen: Bennelong Point, named after the birthplace ofthe first Aborigine who spoke English. A lottery was organized to finance the project and in 1956, an itinérant company, The Australian Opera, was founded. In 1957, the Danish architect Jern Utzon was chosen to design an arts complex that everyone already called the «Opera House.» Everything seemed to be moving along quite quickly: the first stone was laid in 1959, but Utzon, who had designed the famous shells that jut out over the bay of Sydney, had to modify his plans which were impracticable. After much controversy, he resigned in 1966 and an Australian team took over the project in 1973.


After this somewhat difficult birth, the Sydney Opera House rapidly gained an international réputation, and its easily recognizable silhouette has since become an emblem of the city, if not of the country. The complex houses more than 1,000 différent spaces for the performing arts, including a 1,547-seat opera theatre (with its walls painted in black, to bet ter attract the audience's eyes towards the stage). It's in this hall that Joan Sutherland, spouse of the Australian Richard Bonynge (the house's principal conductor from 1976 to 1986), was triumphantly applauded. This hall is also the home of The Australian Opéra, since the company has now mostly limited its tours to Melbourne. A véritable nursery of young talent, which one can applaud, together with a large number of guest stars, during the company's numerous performances.

Sydney Opera House

The seating plan is given as an indication and has no contractual value.
The division of categories may differ depending on shows and dates.



Carmen is among the renowned operas in the world, composed by Georges Bizet. It is one of the most attention-grabbing operas, composed of eminent melodies. The play was written by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halevy, and based on a short story by Prosper Merimee.
Carmen's intoxicating melodies together with the atmosphere represent the misery and emotions of these characters.

It is a fascinating opera full of affection and jealousy, and with an awesome performance which makes this Carmen most enjoyable and dramatic for any first time operagoer. Stunning, this opera is performed in almost all opera theaters in the entire world.

Carmen was first staged on 3rd March 1875 in Paris Opéra Comique.

The opera has then been recorded in various versions, since 1908 and has been the narrative of numerous screens and theater adaptations.

Act I
Spain. 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.


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. José stabs her to death.

Carmen, a gypsy girl, mezzo soprano

Don Jose, corporal of dragoons, tenor

Escamillo, toreador, bass-baritone

Micaela, A village maiden, soprano

Zuniga, lieutenant of dragoons, bass

Morales, corporal of dragoons, baritone


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