April 20, 7pm

Georges Bizet's Carmen | Opera Colorado 2006

Photo: P. Switzer

Carmen Denyce Graves, mezzo-soprano
Don José Julian Gavin, tenor
Escamillo David Pittsinger, bass-baritone
Micäela Pamela Armstrong, soprano
Mercédès Marcia Ragonetti, mezzo-soprano
Moralès Timothy Mix, baritone
Zuniga Christopher Job, bass
Frasquita Rebecca Koenigberg, soprano
Remendado Daniel Fosha, tenor
Dancaïre Dean Thoma, baritone
Lillas Pastia Jean-Pierre Verdier
Opera Colorado Chorus John Baril, director
Colorado Children's Chorales John Baril, director
Colorado Symphony Orchestra    Stephen Lord


ACT I. In a square in Seville, a group of soldiers waits outside the guardhouse.  A young woman, Micaëla, approaches the officer Moralès and asks about a soldier named Don José. The men tease Micaëla, and she leaves.  Don José arrives and discovers that Micaëla has been looking for him.  The cigarette factory bell rings, and the young men of the town watch for Carmen as the cigarette girls come into the square.  They ask Carmen to love them, but she refuses.  Love, she says, is like a wild bird—free and unbound.  Then she throws a flower at José, who has paid her no attention.  He is offended, but attracted to her at the same time.  Micaëla returns and brings José a kiss from his mother; José then gives Micaëla a message and a kiss to pass on.  She leaves.

A fight flares up among the cigarette girls over Carmen, who has wounded another girl in a fight.  The officer Zuniga sentences Carmen to jail.  He leaves, ordering José to supervise her.  Carmen appeals to José for help.  He succumbs to her advances and allows her to escape.

ACT II.  At Lillas Pastia’s tavern, Carmen and her gypsy friends Frasquita and Mercédès celebrate their way of life.  Escamillo arrives to much fanfare, proudly describing the life of a toreador.  He is attracted to Carmen, but, gaining no ground with her, leaves. Dancaïre and Remendado plan their next smuggling operation.  But Carmen, to their dismay, refuses to go with them.  Instead, she waits for José. Imprisoned for allowing Carmen’s escape, he has just been released from jail.

Reunited with Carmen, José fervently proclaims his love for her. She dances for him but becomes angry when he insists that he must return to barracks. José shows Carmen the flower she threw at him, telling her that he kept it and thought of her when he was in jail.  Still he will not desert the army, and Carmen reviles him.  Zuniga bursts in on them, provoking José to insubordination. The smugglers take Zuniga captive, and José finds himself an outlaw with them.

ACT III.  In a mountain hideaway, the smugglers boast of the dangerous life they lead.  Carmen argues with José and then joins her gypsy friends, who are reading fortunes.  The others find wealth and lovers in their cards, but Carmen finds only death in hers.  The three women go off to distract the guards, who are looking for the smugglers.

Micaëla comes looking for José, praying for protection.  Startled by a gunshot, she hides. Escamillo, seeking Carmen, meets José instead.  The two fight. Escamillo wins the first round, José the second. As José is about to kill the toreador, Carmen and Dancaïre intercede. Micaëla is spotted and brought out from her hiding place. She pleads with José to return home. Carmen tells him to go, but he refuses to leave her. Micaëla finally reveals that José’s mother is dying. José agrees to go, but warns Carmen that she will never be free of him.

ACT IV.  In a square in Seville, the crowds prepare for the bullfights and hail Escamillo’s arrival.  The toreador and Carmen declare their love for one another Escamillo and the crowds leave, and Carmen finds herself alone in the square with José. She tells him their love is over. José begs her to come away with him but Carmen, defiant, tells him that she now loves Escamillo.  She throws at José the ring he gave her, and José stabs her.

- Courtesy of Opera Colorado -

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