Carmen is a French-language opera by Georges Bizet that crosses the line between serious and comic operas, introducing a realistic approach to the subject matter. The title character, Carmen, is a boisterous and sensual gypsy girl who catches the eye of a corporal, Don Jose, in the cigarette factory where she works. They fall in love and she seduces him to abandon his life in the military to come dwell with her and other smugglers in a hideaway in the mountains. Their love suffers, fading under the strain of hiding and when Don Jose discovers that his mother is ill, he leaves, promising Carmen that they will meet again. In the final act, Carmen has a new lover, a victorious bullfighter, and Jose returns to win her love. But she is unmovable, proclaiming that she will live her life with the freedom she craves. Jose cannot bear it and kills her in front of the crowd. This tragicomic ode to love and its wild, charismatic heroine have won its place in the hearts and imaginations of opera-goers and artists since its premiere in 1875, and will continue as it is performed around the world for generations to come.
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