Carmen, based on the novel by Prosper Mérimée, brought Georges Bizet well-deserved recognition as a young composer who had already won many awards, although his rise to international fame was short-lived due to his death three months after the opera’s premiere.
The story takes place in Seville (Spain) at the end of the 19th century. Carmen “La cigarrera” challenges Manuelita in a fight inside the Tobacco Factory and cuts her face, causing her to be arrested by Zúñiga. The Chief of the Dragoon Regiment of Alcalá, D. José is in charge of transferring him to prison. Carmen seduces Don José, who then secures his release for which he himself is arrested and demoted.
Some time later, Carmen is at Lillias Pastia’s tavern, where she will meet Don José. The bullfighter Escamillo appears, and Carmen is captivated by him.
The story escalates and soon, at the bullring where Escamillo is fighting, Carmen meets Don José and decides to end her affair by returning the ring he gave her as proof of her love. Don José, enraged with jealousy and, while the spectators cheer for Escamillo, stabs Carmen with her knife and kills her.