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Opera Georges Bizet "Carmen" (Opera in four acts)
World famous Bolshoi Ballet and Opera theatre (established 1776) - Small Stage

Running time: 3 hours 10 minutes

The performance has 1 intermission

Schedule for Georges Bizet "Carmen" (Opera in four acts) 2021-2022

Composer: Georges Bizet
Choirmaster producer: Valery Borisov
Light Designer: Damir Ismagilov
Director: David Pountney
Scenography: Robert Innes-Hopkins
Costume Designer: Marie-Jeanne Leca
Director: Julia Pevzner

Orchestra: Bolshoi Theatre Symphony Orchestra

Opera in 4 act

Performed in French with Russian supertitles

Premiere of this production: 22 April 2008

Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halevy after the novel of the same name by Prosper Merimee
Original version with dialogues

Music Director: Yuri Temirkanov
Stage Director: David Pountney
Set Designer: Robert Innes Hopkins
Costume Designer: Marie-Jeanne Lecca
Chorus Master: Valery Borisov
Lighting Designer: Damir Ismagilov
Choreographer: Beate Vollack
Assosiate Director: Julia Pevzner

The Bolshoi Theatre has done seven productions of Carmen. But now, in its 232nd season and, for the first time in its history, the Theatre is to produce the opera with dialogue in place of recitative. The public will have a unique opportunity of hearing one of the most popular operas of all times in its original form, i.e., as it was heard by the audience at its world premiere at the Paris Opera Comique. The new production is by Yuri Temirkanov and David Pountney, two performing arts personalities of world renown.

Yuri Temirkanov - People’s Artist of the USSR, winner of USSR State Prizes and of the State Prize of Russia, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Conductor Laureate of London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 1978, he conducted a production of Rodion Shchedrin’s opera Dead Souls at the Bolshoi.

David Pountney made his opera debut in 1972 with a production of Janбиek’s Katya Kabanova for the Wexford Festival. From 1982-93, he was Director of Productions for London’s English National Opera (his production of Macbeth was seen at the Bolshoi during the ENO’s 1989 Moscow tour). He has produced several dozen operas for the Metropolitan, Vienna State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, and for the Salzburg and Bregenz Festivals. In 2003, he was appointed Intendant of the Bregenz Festival.



In a square in Seville, townspeople and soldiers relax in the summer sun. Micaela arrives in search of her sweetheart, Don Jose, a corporal. A fellow officer, Morales, tells her Jose will be there later, then offers himself as a substitute, but she leaves hastily. As the guard changes, children parade, imitating the soldiers ("Avec la garde montante"), whose number now includes Jose. At the sound of the noon bell, girls from the cigarette factory come to smoke and chat ("Dans l’air"). Carmen, a Gypsy who works in the factory, flirts with the local men, airing her philosophy of life: love is a wild bird that cannot be tamed (Habanera: "L’amour est un oiseau rebelle"). Sullen and distracted, Jose sits apart. Drawn by his indifference, Carmen tosses him a flower from her bodice as the work bell calls the girls back inside. Micaela returns to give Jose news of his mother, who has sent him a kiss, which the girl delivers shyly ("Parle-moi de ma mиre"). No sooner has she left than a disturbance is heard in the factory: Carmen is involved in a fight. The girls run out, arguing over who started it. Lt. Zuniga orders Jose to arrest Carmen, but she resists their questions with brazen nonchalance. Her wrists bound, she is left alone with Jose, who forbids her to speak to him. Instead, she flirts with him by singing "to herself" about Lillas Pastia’s inn and the rendezvous she might make with "a certain officer" who has taken her fancy (Seguidilla: "Prиs des remparts de Seville"). Jose, intoxicated, agrees to let her escape in exchange for the promised rendezvous; when she pushes him to the ground and runs off, he is arrested for his negligence.


A month later, at Lillas Pastia’s, Carmen regales the customers with a Gypsy song ("Les tringles des sistres tintaient"). The matador Escamillo arrives, boasting of his exploits in the arena ("Votre toast"). He is immediately attracted to Carmen, who puts off his amorous advances. When the inn closes, Dancaire and Remendado try to convince Frasquita, Mercedes and Carmen to accompany them on their next smuggling trip. The girls are game, except for Carmen, who says she is in love with Jose and is awaiting his return from prison (quintet: "Nous avons en tкte"). The others laugh at her, then depart as Jose is heard approaching. Carmen sings and dances for him, but when a distant bugle sounds the retreat, he says he must return to the barracks. Carmen angrily mocks him, saying he doesn’t love her, and he replies by telling her how he has kept the flower she threw, the scent of its wilted blossom conjuring up her image in his prison cell ("La fleur que tu m’avais jetйe"). He refuses her suggestion that he join her wild mountain life, but when Zuniga breaks in, looking for Carmen, Jose loses his temper and attacks his superior. Carmen summons the other Gypsies, who throw the lieutenant out. Jose, now an outlaw, has no choice but to join their band.


In their mountain hideout, the smugglers congratulate themselves on their successful trade, but Jose is unhappy. Carmen finds his homesickness tiresome and occupies herself with her friends, reading fortunes in the cards. Frasquita foresees a lover for herself, Mercйdиs a rich husband, but Carmen sees only death ("En vain pour йviter"). The Gypsies leave Jose as lookout, and Micaela enters, frightened but determined to find him ("Je dis que rien ne m’йpouvante"). She hides at the sound of a shot, fired by Jose as a warning to Escamillo, who has come looking for Carmen. The two men start to fight but are separated by the Gypsies. Escamillo invites them all to his next bullfight and leaves. Remendado discovers Micaela, who has come to beg Jose to return home to his ailing mother. Carmen dismisses him willingly, but Jose, convinced she wants to be rid of him in order to take up with Escamillo, vows to find her again after he has seen his mother.


In Seville’s Plaza de Toros, the crowd gathers for the bullfight, hailing Escamillo. He and Carmen declare their love, and he enters the ring. Carmen’s friends warn that Jose has been spotted nearby, looking desperate, but she is a fatalist and defiantly remains in the square to face him. He enters ("C’est toi?") and begs her to return to him, saying there is still time for them to start again. She replies that everything is finished between them, tossing his ring in his face as the crowd is heard cheering the triumphant Escamillo. When Carmen tries to run past Jose into the arena, he stabs her, then falls by her body in despair.

© Photo by Damir Yusupov/Bolshoi Theatre

Schedule for Georges Bizet "Carmen" (Opera in four acts) 2021-2022

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