The Metropolitan Opera’s sizzling and larger than life production of one of the most popular operas in all time returns to the stage with hundreds of participants featuring Bizet’s sensuous score and the free spirited gypsy who believes in free love.
Duration: aprox. 3 hours and 20 minutes with 2 intermission
Sung in French English and Hebrew Surtitles Translation: Israel Ouval
The première performance is dedicated to Dan David
A square in Seville
Officer Morales and his soldiers are standing around, chatting, when Micaela, a shy young girl from Navarre, approaches them, looking for Don José. As the soldiers are frightening her away, a mounted guard, led by captain Zuniga and corporal José, arrive followed by a crowd. José hears of the young girl who was looking for him and recognizes Micaela who grew up at his house, just when the bell sounds, summoning the girls of the cigarette factory back to work. Among all the girls entering the square, Carmen appears, brazenly addresses the men and tries to attract the attention of Don José by throwing him a flower plucked from her corset. After hesitations, Don José picks up the flower. When Micaela returns, she brings Don José a letter from his mother back at their village, and some money his mother saved for him. Shouts are heard from the factory and the square fills with people; apparently Carmen has had an argument with one of the workers and stabbed her. Zuniga has her arrested by Don José and then tries to interrogate her, though he soon loses patience and orders her imprisonment. Carmen sings to Don José, seducing him and bewitching him to let her escape.
The tavern of Lilas Pastia
Carmen and her gypsy friends Frasquita and Mercedes are singing and dancing along with and Morales. Outside, the crowd sings the praises of Escamillo, the toreador, winner of the bullfight in Granada, and of the glories of bullfighting. Carmen mesmerizes Escamillo, who tries to talk to her, but she is only thinking about Don José. He has been jailed, after letting Carmen escape, and now is about to be released. As the toreador departs, the smugglers El Dancairo and El Remendado join Carmen and the others. They need them to divert the attention of the coast guards. The smugglers want to leave with the girls, but Carmen wants to wait for Don José. The smugglers suggest that Carmen will encourage Don José to join them. As Don José arrives, Carmen dances for him and persuades him to join the gypsies. When Zuniga appears, the two men fight and the smugglers rush back in to separate them. Eventually Don José agrees to join the smugglers.
Several months later in the Mountains
Don José is depressed as Carmen has left him for Escamillo, and he regrets having sacrificed everything for her. When he tells her that his mother lives in a nearby village, she mocks him that he ought to return to his mother, and he reacts by threatening to kill her. The smugglers go away, leaving Don José to guard the merchandise. Micaela appears, looking for Don José, exactly as Escamillo arrives to meet Carmen. He introduces himself to Don José, and tells him he came to find Carmen, with whom he is in love. Don José challenges Escamillo to a knife-fight, and the smugglers return and separate them. Escamillo invites the smugglers to his next bullfight. The smugglers are about to leave Remendado discovers Micaela hiding. She tells Don José that his mother has sent her to plead him to come home with her. Carmen tells him to leave but he swears he would not let her go off with her new lover. Micaela, however, in a last desperate effort to persuade him, tells José that his mother is dying and longs to see him. He decides to leave with Micaela, threatening Carmen that they will meet again.
A Square in Seville It is the day of the great bullfight in Seville, and the square outside the bull-ring is a scene of great bustle and activity. Escamillo appears, Carmen on his arm, and then leaves to prepare for the bullfight. A gypsy tells Carmen that Don José is hiding in the crowd, watching her, and that she should be careful. She is scornful of the warnings and remains in the square. When Don José arrives, he tells her he has not come to threaten her but to beg for her love, yet she rejects him cruelly. José kills Carmen and gives himself up.
Back Stage Secrets at the Opera Many Opportunities to Widen your Opera Experience
Do you want to know more about the opera you are about to attend? Do you want to find out some back stage secrets? Do you want to meet the artists after the performance? The Israeli Opera enables you to widen your opera experience with a variety of pre performance and post-performance events.
Towards Opening On Saturday morning before the premiere, the creators of the production and several of the soloists gather to discuss the opera, the production, their own career and today’s opera world. This is a unique opportunity to learn as much as possible about the production and meet the director, conductor, designers and some of the participating soloists. Musical excerpts from the opera illustrate the discussion. Towards Opening takes place before some of each season’s productions.
Pre Performance Lecture One hour before each opera performance there is a 30-minute introductory lecture in the auditorium (in Hebrew). Opera staffers present the opera and the production and enable the audience to get some extra information a short time before attending the performances. Admission is free for ticket holders.
Pre Performance Back Stage Tours What happens backstage before the audience even thinks of getting dressed for the performance? What do the singers do? The conductor? The Technical teams? How does everyone prepare for the performance? A unique opportunity to taste a little bit of the back stage excitement before the curtain ascends/ A concerted half hour tour in places that are not usually open to the general public. Tours begin 90 minute before the performance begins and last 30 minutes. Tickets are 25NIS and can be booked in advance (tickets for each tour are limited). Tours take place on several evenings in each production. Details can be found at the Israeli opera’s website. Tours from groups both in Hebrew and in English can be booked in advance ( email@example.com )
Opera Talkback The curtain has just descended on the final scene of the opera. The hour is late. Nut the experience was riveting. This is the time to meet several of the performers. Come to listen and to speak. Ask questions. Meet the artists. A once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the artists who have just excited you on the stage. Opera Talkbacks takes place on the second level of the Opera House foyer and last around 30 minutes. Admission free. Opera Talkback takes place on several evenings in each production. Details can be found at the Israeli opera’s website.