Georges Bizet

23 Jan–27 Mar 2021

This event has been postponed


Please note this event has been postponed to a future season. We will contact all ticket bookers as soon as possible to arrange refunds. Thank you for your patience and support at this difficult time. Find out more


A masterpiece of obsession and self-destruction

Bizet’s enduringly popular opera tells the story of a woman on the margins of society, driven by a fierce, uncompromising desire for personal liberty, and of a man who, in the grip of sexual obsession, tries to own her.

Its sensuality, stark emotional realism and brutal violence outraged many in its first audiences, and it was widely condemned. Almost 150 years later, Carmen still presents a challenge to contemporary sensibilities, whilst Bizet’s music – overflowing with passion, colour, energy and unforgettable melody – continues to mesmerise.

Garry Walker conducts his first production as our Music Director, and Edward Dick directs, following his triumphant Tosca here in 2018.


£15 to £77.50*
  • Leeds Grand Theatre
  • Theatre Royal, Nottingham
  • The Lowry, Salford Quays
  • Theatre Royal, Newcastle

Running time
Approximately 3 hours

Sung in French with English titles

Save with…
Season Ticket Packages
Under 30s membership
Try it ON membership

*Prices vary by venue. Booking fees may apply.

Become a Friend

Support us at this challenging time by becoming a Friend of Opera North

Watch online

Watch Opera North’s acclaimed staging of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Britten’s The Turn of the Screw and more, online, in full, for free.

Watch online » 


Chrystal E. Williams


Antoine Bélanger

Don José

Creative team

Garry Walker


Edward Dick


Colin Richmond

Set Designer

Laura Hopkins

Costume Designer

Malcolm Rippeth

Lighting Designer

Lorena Randi



A square, in Seville 

A group of soldiers are relaxing in the square. A bell tolls and women spill out onto the square. Carmen arrives, the men rush to her and plead that she choose one of them as her lover. She tells them that love is free, like a bird that no one can tame. 

Carmen throws a flower to Don José seductivelyhe ignores her. The women return to the factory 

Micaëla arrives to give José a letter and a kiss from his mother. The letter urges José to return home and marry Micaëla. Ahe is about to agree to her wishes, the women run out of the factory in great agitation. 

Carmen has attacked someone with a knife. José tries to arrest Carmen, but she suggests they meet later that night to drink and dance. He lets her go. José is arrested for dereliction of duty. 

Lillas Pastia’s Inn 

Carmen and her friends are entertaining officers in a local inn, she is delighted to hear José has been released from detention. 

The toreador Escamillo arrives and sets his sights on Carmen; she brushes him aside.  

José arrives and Carmen dances for him. They are interrupted by a distant call from the Barracks, he must return for duty. Carmen demands that he show his love by leaving with her for a life of freedom. 

Zuniga, José’s lieutenant, arrives looking for Carmen. He and José fight. Having attacked a superior officer, José has no choice other than to flee with Carmen. 

A wild spot in the mountains 

Carmen has now become bored with José and wishes he would return to his mother.  

Micaëla enters the camp seeking to find José and convince him to return to his previous lifeShe hears a gunshot; José has fired a shot at an intruderwho turns out to be the bullfighter Escamillo. The pair fight, each claiming their love for Carmen.  

Micaëla is discovered but José refuses to leave, until she reveals his mother is dying. He departs, vowing he will return again soon. 

A square in Seville 

Escamillo and Carmen arrive at the bullfighting ring together, announcing their mutual love for each other. As Escamillo enters the arena, Carmen is confronted by a desperate José. He pleads for her to return to him, but Carmen throws down the ring he gave her and attempts to leave. 

José stabs Carmen.  He confesses to her murder. 


Search our site