George Bizet

Duration: 2 hours 10 minutes (withintermission)

Stage Director – Dmitry Bertman
Musical 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

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).

The Opera “Carmen” is regarded the climax of the creative works of the French composer George Bizet and one of the best examples of the genre of opera. Nowdays it is hard to believe that its premiere on the stage of Opera Comique in Paris on March, 2, 1875 failed, and a scandal around it was huge…

Now we cannot imagine our world without bright, passionate, exciting melodies of Bizet, and the role of Carmen lead to glory so many female singers.

In Helikon-Opera the production has immediately become a sensation – it exploded the music world by the courage of the version and the heat of the action. 

Dmitry Bertman defined the genre of his production as a “modern criminal drama for adults only”. But the most important reasons of the success of the production became not the criminal subject and extravaganza of the characters, but the emotional and expressive atmosphere, taking the audience into the abyss of passions. One should add the highest professionalism and mastery of details of the mise-EN-scenes to the fast actions on stage. Bizet’s “Carmen” in Helikon looks like the most beloved production of the muscovites and the guests of Moscow.

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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