Opera by Georges Bizet
Chor der Oper Zürich
Statistenverein am Opernhaus Zürich
3 hrs. 30 min.
After the 2st act after approx. 1 hrs. 40 min.
Introduction 45 min before the performance
29 Jun 2014, 19:30
03 Jul 2014, 19:00
06 Jul 2014, 19:30
10 Jul 2014, 19:00
12 Jul 2014, 19:00
Outside the cigarette factory, a group of policemen led by Moralès watch the passersby as they wait for their guard duty to end. Micaëla, a girl not from these parts, catches the men’s eye. She is looking for Don José, a childhood friend. When she asks the policemen about him, they start to make advances, and she has to struggle to get away.
Don José turns up for duty and gets into an argument with his superior, Lieutenant Zuniga. When the factory bell rings to announce the midday break, the women workers come out to be met by their admirers. Carmen, who is used to a lot of male attention, is intrigued by Don José’s indifference to her and throws him a flower. A bell sounds ordering the women back to work.
Micaëla finds Don José and gives him a letter from his mother. Reading it, he learns that she wants him to marry Micaëla.
Suddenly there is uproar from within the factory. Carmen has quarrelled with a fellow worker and has cut the woman’s face in the ensuing fight. Zuniga has Carmen arrested, and orders Don José to take her to prison.
Left alone with Don José, Carmen persuades him to abandon his sense of duty by offering to meet him again at Lillas Pastia’s tavern. Don José helps Carmen escape.
Lillas Pastia’s tavern, Carmen waits for Don José, who has been imprisoned for helping her escape. Carmen rejects Zuniga’s advances, but is more open to the attentions of Escamillo, a bullfighter who is being wildly welcomed by the tavern’s patrons.
Dancaïro and Remendado, two smugglers, ask Carmen and her friends Frasquita and Mercédès to distract the customs officers during their next smuggling operation. Carmen refuses.
Don José arrives. He loves Carmen; but her pull is not strong enough for him to leave the police and join the smugglers’ gang. Suddenly Zuniga appears. An argument develops with Don José and the smugglers, and Zuniga is killed in the scuffle. Don José has no choice now: he must throw in his lot with the smugglers.
The smugglers are bringing their goods in at night over a dangerous mountain path. Carmen has grown tired of Don José, and advises him to leave the smugglers’ gang.
Frasquita, Mercédès and Carmen ask the cards to tell them their futures. All Carmen can see in hers is death: Don José’s and her own.
The smugglers tell Don José to stay behind at their camp and look after the goods while they check out the lie of the land. Micaëla, who has followed Don José into the mountains, almost runs into him. Concealing herself, she then watches as Escamillo, who is looking for Carmen, arrives and is challenged to a duel by Don José, only to be saved at the last moment by Carmen’s intervention. Escamillo invites everyone to attend his next bullfight. Remendado discovers Micaëla in her hiding place. She persuades Don José to come back with her, telling him his mother is dying. Don José swears to Carmen that he will return.
Carmen and Escamillo are now a couple. Outside the arena, the spectators eagerly await the bullfights and welcome the toreadors as they arrive. Carmen does not follow Escamillo inside: despite her friends’ appeals, she is determined to wait for Don José, to have a final talk with him. Don José arrives and begs Carmen to make a new start with him, but she is unmoved by his entreaties and rejects him. At this Don José kills her just as, inside the bullring, Escamillo celebrates a further triumph.