opera in four acts

music by Georges Bizet

2 hours 50 minutes
1 act
1 h 10 min
interval 30 min
2 act
30 min
interval 20 min
3 act
20 min
for viewers over 12 years old
performed in French (with Russian surtitles)

The Mikhailovsky Theatre presents Nacho Duatos debut as an opera director  the new production of Georges Bizets Carmen.

Nacho Duatos Carmen is a reflection on predetermination and fate, love, death and freedom  and the price you have to pay for it. Bizets ingenious realism has received a finest expression in this classically elegant production, simplicity of which enhances the beauty of the music. Stage designer Jaffar Chalabi and costume designer Angelina Atlagić  regular co-authors of the Spanish choreographer  have created the perfect setting for Nacho Duatos subtle production.

Act I

A square in Seville. The soldiers of the dragoon regiment are watching the passers-by. Micaëla comes in search for the corporal of dragoons, Don José, but fails to find him and leaves. The female workers of the tobacco factory appear in the square. Carmen the gypsy is one of them, and all the men, except José, are fascinated by her. Josés indifference awakens her interest: she throws him a flower as a promise of love. The arrival of Micaëla, who brings José a letter and a gift from his mother, makes him forget about the gypsy. Soon shouts are heard: Carmen has started a quarrel at the factory, and José has to escort her to jail. Left alone with the young corporal, the beautiful woman seduces him: José surrenders to her charm, breaks his oath and helps her escape.

Act II

Two months later Carmen and her friends Frasquita and Mercédès are entertaining visitors at Lillas Pastias tavern. Escamillo, the famous bullfighter, is enchanted by Carmen but she does not care. Dancaïre and Remendado, the smugglers, need the girls help in delivering the loot and tempt Carmen to assist them. The gypsy refuses, as she is waiting for José, who is about to be released from jail, where he was serving a sentence for her escape. José does come to see the gypsy, but her joy does not last long  in the midst of the meeting, a trumpet signal is calling José to the barracks. He is about to leave, and Carmen is furious: she does not want to see a man for whom there is something more important than her love. Suddenly Zuniga, lieutenant of dragoons, appears at Lillas Pastias, and in a fit of jealousy José lashes out at his rival. Carmen calls her friends for help. José has no choice now: he must stay with Carmen and become a smuggler, too.


The smugglers camp in the mountains. José is exhausted as Carmen has grown cold to him. Frasquita and Mercédès are telling fortunes by cards and Carmen joins them. Her friends expect wealth and love, but she herself sees death in her future. Escamillo suddenly appears. In a rage, José attacks the bullfighter with a knife, but Carmen stops the fight. Micaëla appears to persuade José to return to a peaceful life. Carmen scornfully says that the girl is right and this is no place for him here. José does not want to go, but Micaëla tells him about his mothers fatal illness. He leaves to bid farewell to the dying woman.

Act IV

The square in front of the bullring in Seville. Everyone greets Escamillo. Carmen is next to him: her heart now belongs to the bullfighter. Her friends warn the gypsy that José is following her, but she declares that she is not afraid of him. When everyone leaves for the arena, José blocks Carmens way and begs her to return. Carmen is adamant  it is all over between them. In despair, José kills Carmen.

Premiere of the production: 5 September 2023

Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy after the novel by Prosper Mérimée

  • Stage Director and ChoreographerNacho Duato
  • Stage Directors AssistantYulia Prokhorova
  • Stage DesignerJaffar Chalabi
  • Costume DesignerAngelina Atlagić
  • Lighting DesignerBrad Fields
  • Musical Director of the productionAlexander Soloviev

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