Carmen Opera in four acts by Georges Bizet

"Every woman is evil, but twice she is good: the bed of love and the death bed."

An epigraph to the novel Carmen by Prosper Merime from the writings of the Greek poet Paladas Alexandria, 5th century AD.


Opera in four acts by Georges Bizet

Libretto by Henri Mayak and Louis Alevi

According to the novel of the same name by Prosper Merimee





Conductor of choirs NEVENA MIHAYLOVA

Conductor of the children's choir "Milka Stoeva" at MC-Burgas SVETLA STOEVA

Choreography by NEDKO GEORGIEV








Contributors to the production:

Production manager and theater master IVAN FARTUNOV

Head of artistic lighting KIRIL KARADIMOV


Head of sewing studio KICHKA GROZEVA


Wardrobe manager DIMKA RUSEVA

Hair and makeup NADEZHDA TANEVA

Artistic sound system VESELIN PENCHEV

Multimedia and photo studio NEDELCHO BAMBEKOV

Marketing and sales VIOLETA GUDZHEVA

Graphic design, advertising and public relations YANITA VODENICHAROVA



History of creation

Georges Bizet was born in Paris on October 25, 1838. Music is genetically embedded in him - his parents are musicians and develop his innate talent. At the age of eight, Bizet was declared a miracle child, and two weeks before his tenth birthday he entered the Paris Conservatory. His teachers and mentors there were notable French musicologists and composers - Pierre Zimmermann (fugue and counterpoint), often assisted by Charles Gounod, who was his son-in-law; Antoine Francois Marmontel (piano); Francois Benoit (organ) and, after the death of Zimmermann, Frontal Alevi, whose daughter Bizet later married.

Bizet became a brilliant pianist, and his qualities as a composer became apparent. He wrote his first symphony when he was only seventeen years old, probably as a school assignment. It remained unknown until 1933, when it was accidentally discovered in the archives of the library of the Paris Conservatory.

In 1857, the production of the one-act operetta "Doctor Miracle" brought him the prize awarded by Jacques Offenbach. He also won a scholarship that allowed him to continue his education in Rome. At the age of 19, Bizet left for the Italian capital, where he spent three fruitful summers - he created the comic opera Don Procopio, and composed his only significant sacred work, Te Deum; offered it for the Rodriguez Prize, but failed to win, and the score of Te Deum remained unpublished until 1971. He returned to Paris in 1860. This is the period in which Bizet created the pearl hunters on behalf of the director of the Lyric Theater. This was followed by the opera The Beauty of Perth and a symphony called Rome. Bizet's mother died shortly after his return from Rome. At the same time, the maid in the home of the composer Marie Reite gave birth to a son, whose paternity was originally attributed to Adolf Bizet. Later, however, Marie herself reveals the real father of the child - and this is George.

In 1865, Georges Bizet met Celeste Venar on the train - this woman impressed him with her colorful personality and most likely she is the prototype of Carmen from the opera of the same name. Celeste influenced Bizet, introduced him to the work of the young composer Sebastian Iradier, who obviously liked Bizet; the young lady even gets a piano in her house, which George works on. However, their relationship remains platonic. It fell apart after Bizet married in 1869 the daughter of his professor at the Frontal Alevi Conservatory, Jenviev. Shortly afterwards, he enlisted as a volunteer in the French National Guard during the Franco-Prussian War. Immediately after the armistice between the two warring states, a civil war broke out in Paris, which plunged the French capital into blood and riots for two months. Bizet and Jenviev escaped the violence in the village of Vesine, not far from Paris. Their son Jacques was born in 1872. However, even this fails to make Bizet's marriage happy. He is dissatisfied. His work is not disputed, he suffers from health problems, he often falls into depression. From this period dates the suite of the play by Alphonse Dode "The Arlesian", the writing of which was assigned to Bizet by the director of the Lyric Carvaio Theater, as well as the one-act opera "Jamile". This opera is actually considered the predecessor of Carmen. Despite their obvious qualities, these works were received with little enthusiasm and had little success. Unwaveringly convinced of Bizet's talent, however, Camille de Locle, director of the Opera Comic, hired him to write an opera based on the acclaimed novel Carmen by the French writer Prosper Merimee. From 1873 Bizet began work on the music that best fits the image of the passionate, wayward, primal, arrogant, lively and because of all this admirable and irresistible gypsy Carmen.

The libretto was created by the two experienced writers Henri Meyak and the cousin of Bizet's wife, Ludovic Alevi, authors of many of Offenbach's operetta texts, including those of The Beautiful Helen, Paris Life, Pericola, and others. The libretto, written entirely according to the canons of theatrical drama, is a wonderful basis for an opera. Many things in Merimee's novel have changed significantly, especially the characteristics of the two main characters. Jose - the stern and in his own way romantic hero, whose conscience is weighed down even by crimes, is presented here as an honest rural youth who, no matter how hard he tries, fails to listen to the voice of reason and resist his destructive passion. The negative traits that Carmen bears in Merimee's novel are removed by the librettists; in the opera her image is the embodiment of female beauty and love, of passion and the freedom-loving spirit. The minor character Escamillo in the novel is presented here as a heroic image contrasting with Don Jose. Compared to the literary source, the image of Mikaela is also further developed, as opposed to Carmen. Meyak and Alevi have also added new scenes that allow for the re-creation of different aspects of life - the romantically colored figures of gypsies and smugglers, the tense and majestic atmosphere of the bullfight, etc.

The opera Carmen was first staged on March 3, 1875, one year after it was written, on the stage of the Paris Opera Comic. The premiere failed. By the way, the rehearsal in the hall was attended by many musicians and critics, who even then spoke not very kindly about the work. The composer Ernest Giro says that all night after the unfortunate premiere, until dawn, Bizet wandered in silent despair through the sleeping streets of Paris, painfully experiencing his failure.

The reviews are relentless. "How true, but how indecent everything is!", Criticizes the critic for "Carmen". Bizet is accused of immorality. Some accuse him of "Wagnerianism" (!), Others - "in the absence of melody", or in "inaccessibility to the public" (!); "What truth! - some write. "What a scandal!" And so bourgeois morality, unperturbed by the seductive slit of beautiful Elena's dress or by the dizzying cancans in Offenbach's operettas, in the case of Carmen, assumes the posture of offended chastity.

The reasons why the secular bohemian Paris of the Third Republic declared itself in defense of the hypocritical morality worthy of a governess are unknown. In fact, what the French bourgeoisie could not forgive Bizet for was that for the first time he dared to bring to the opera stage not the stereotyped knights and princesses, but the real, living people of the third class - a tobacco factory worker, an ordinary soldier, a country girl. , smugglers; gypsies.

Only a year later, on February 6, 1876, the opera was removed from the stage. At that time, the author was no longer alive. He died on June 2, 1875, three months after the premiere of "Carmen", under the age of 37! ...

On October 23, 1875, however, Bizet was rehabilitated - "Carmen" was staged in Vienna and reaped phenomenal success. From then until today, she has invariably been present on world opera stages.

In a letter dated July 18, 1880, Tchaikovsky wrote: "I am ready to swear that in ten years" Carmen "will be considered an absolute masterpiece, almost the most prominent lyrical and dramatic work of our time." Bizet, the composer Ernest Giro, with whom he studied in Italy, makes a new edition of "Carmen". He replaced spoken dialogues with recitatives and inserted ballet music into the last act of the opera, using motifs from various works by Bizet. In this form, "Carmen" was played again in Paris in 1883 - so only five years after the failed premiere, Tchaikovsky's words turned out to be truly prophetic - films by about fifty directors: Cecil di Mill, Fader, Christian-Jacques, Otto Preminger. . But Carmen never triumphed as much as it did in 1983, when Francesco Rosi filmed the opera starring Julia Miguenes and Placido Domingo. Carlos Saura is making a film based on the ballet of the same name by Antonio Gades; Jean-Luc Godard is the author of The Name: Carmen. Peter Brooke made a new edition and production at the Buff du Nord, which he later filmed in three versions, with the three ensembles that represented it.

The scale of Carmen's influence is astonishing - this work equally captivates both the professional musician and the ordinary listener and always remains a work in which the shocking psychological realism of music, the dramatic power of stage action and the ingenious conciseness of the means of expression are intertwined. . It is no coincidence that Tchaikovsky, who despises posturing, artificial complexity, and sham noise in operas, saw in Carmen the ideal of musical drama.


Carmen, a gypsy

Don Jose, Sergeant

Escamillo, bullfighter

Tsuniga, Captain

Morales, Sergeant

Duncairo and Remendado, smugglers

Mikaela, Don Jose's fiancée

Fraskita and Mercedes, gypsies; Carmen's friends



Action I:

Under the scorching rays of the Andalusian sun, soldiers and citizens are having fun waiting for the lunch break of the tobacco workers. Mikaela appears, looking for Sergeant Don Jose, and this creates excitement among the bored soldiers. Accompanied by a group of children, the marching soldiers come to change the guard under the command of Don Jose and the newcomer to Seville, Lieutenant Tsuniga. While the two are talking, a bell rings - a signal for lunch break. The square is again filled with noisy people. The tobacco workers go out, the young people meet their fans.

When Carmen, the beautiful and daring gypsy, comes out, everyone turns their attention to her. Only Don Jose does not pay attention to her and this awakens in her the female ambition to win it. Carmen sings a passionate habanera and throws a flower at the young man's feet. Don Jose is embarrassed. But the break time has passed and the workers return to the factory. Mikaela comes, a pure country girl who carries a letter from his mother. Thus, Don Jose manages to break away from the enchanting charm of Carmen and transfer to the quiet, idyllic life of the village. But a shrill scream snatches him from the world of memories. In a heated argument, Carmen stabbed one of the workers. Tsuniga orders Jose to arrest the culprit and take her to prison. When left alone, Carmen manages to persuade the young sergeant to let her escape by arranging a meeting for him at Lila Pastia's pub. Don Jose fulfills her wish, for which he himself ends up in prison.


Action II:

Two months later, Lila Pastia's pub is noisy and merry. Many visitors come here without suspecting that the pub is a haven for a gang of smugglers. Carmen, together with her friends Fraskita and Mercedes, are both an attraction of the restaurant and helpers of the gang. When smuggling goods across the border, beautiful girls are relied on to distract customs officers.

A solid operation is planned tonight. The gang leader Dankairo and his assistant Remendado persuade the women to come with them. Only Carmen opposes. She has learned that Don Jose has been released from prison and is looking forward to meeting him.

The crowd greets the brave but spoiled bullfighter Escamillo with enthusiastic shouts. Everyone raises a toast in his honor, and he has already liked the beautiful Carmen and raises a toast to love and a possible next date. In vain they laugh at the gypsy and do not believe that the soldier will come - in the distance his song is heard. Carmen greets him, sings and dances for him, but soon their joy is interrupted by the incoming call of the barracks trumpet. Jose is required to appear for inspection. Carmen, freedom-loving to the point of pain in spirit, cannot understand how it is possible to leave her at the very moment when she offers him her love. Now Tsuniga appears, hoping to find Carmen alone to have fun. Tsuniga mocks her - she preferred the soldier to the officer. The two men attack each other, but the intervention of the smugglers thwarts the match. Don Jose no longer has a choice - he must desert. Carmen paints him the beauty of free life, and he, captivated by his love for her, enthusiastically joins the smugglers.


Action III:

In the dark of night, the smugglers, led by Dankairo, carried their wares across the mountain and stayed for a short rest. Carmen and Jose are grim. The young man suffers deeply, tormented by betrayal of military duty and sadness in his homeland. Carmen, on the other hand, has cooled down to him and is behaving defiantly. Fraskita and Mercedes are trying to brighten up the atmosphere by guessing at cards. They advise Carmen to do the same, but while wealth and love fall on them, the Carmen cards portend death.

Mikaela is coming. She overcame all fear to save her lover from the power of the gypsy. Mikaela begs Jose to return. His mother is on her deathbed and longs to embrace her beloved son for the last time. The unfortunate man cannot leave Carmen. Unexpectedly, Escamillo also appears, who has come to invite Carmen for the upcoming bullfights. A fierce fight ensues between the two rivals, but Carmen manages to break them up. Don Jose leaves with Mikaela, and before leaving, the gypsy threatens to return.


Action IV:

In the square, the people are looking forward to the beginning of the bullfight. The crowd joyfully greeted the bullfighters, led by the universal favorite Escamillo. Carmen is here too. Her friends Fraskita and Mercedes warn her that Jose is nearby and hiding, but the gypsy is not afraid. She is ready to meet her ex-lover. Jose confronts her and gently and desperately begs her to return to him,