George Bizet
Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halevi based on the same name novel by Prosper Merimee

Crime drama (for adults only)

Stage Director – Dmitry Bertman
Music Director – Kirill Tikhonov
Set and Costume Designers – Igor Nezhny and Tatiana Tulubieva
Stage Choreographer  – Alexander Tagiltsev 
Plastic and Stage Movement Directors – Oleg Ilin and Yuri  Ustiugov
Playing time: 2 hours 10 minutes (one intermission)
Premiere: December 20, 1996

The play is awarded “The Golden Mask” Russian National Theatre Award in two categories: “Best director’s work of musical theatre” and “Best actress of musical theatre” (1998).

What is hidden in the love of Carmen the Gypsy? Freedom and happiness or humiliation and death? Is it possible for that feeling to be born among blood, stench and dregs of public who lives at the backyard of a modern city? The problems raised in the performance are far away from exotic of theatrical Spain.

Act I

There is a watchpost near the tobacco factory. Micaela is looking for Jose. Jose comes with the changing of the guard. Carmen appears. Hot and courageous, she’s got used to hold sway over the others. Her habanera sounds like challenge, while the flower, thrown to the Jose’s feet, promises love. Micaela’s coming diverts attention of the soldier. He is recalling his home, his mother… Carmen turns out to be the cause of the fight, and Jose has to take the peace breaker to prison. But the Carmen’s spell is almighty. Charmed Jose breaks the order and helps her to escape.

There is the secret meeting of smugglers, supported by Carmen. Escamillo appears. Being always jaunty, self-confident and brave he doesn’t leave Carmen cold. Under favour of night the smugglers are going to a risky business. This time Carmen refuses to join them. Her joy of meeting with Jose is so short, as the horn calls the soldier for the service. There is a battle of passion and duty in his soul. Carmen is indignant. Suddenly Zuniga, the Jose’s commander comes, who hopes for the Carmen’s favour. Jose is jealous. Oath of allegiance has been broken; the way back to the quarters has been cut off. Jose stays with Carmen to begin a new life, full of anxieties and dangers. 

Act 2
At the dead of night the smugglers make a bargain. Carmen and Jose are with them. The quarrel hasn’t been forgotten, because the difference between the lovers is too great. Jose suffers from his betrayal of the duty. And it is only his love to Carmen that holds him with the criminals. But Carmen has grown cold to him and the break-up is inevitable. What will the cards predict? All the friends see their happiness in future, while the Carmen’s fortune bodes ill to her: she has read in the cards her death warrant. Escamillo comes to the date with Carmen. She stops the rivals’ battle. At this moment Jose sees Micaela, who has overcome her fear and come to the smugglers to take Jose away. He doesn’t want to listen to her. Only the news about his mother’s death makes him leave Carmen. But soon they will meet again. 

A bright sunny day. Carmen is waiting for Escamillo. Jose appears before her: he is weariful and looks like a tramp. He still loves her and is ready to forgive her everything if she comes back to him. But Carmen refuses his appeals and running out of patience, snatches the ring, presented by Jose as the pledge of fidelity, off her finger with the words: “I was born free and I will die free!” Her death is inevitable.

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