Opernhaus Zürich


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Among Seville’s cigar makers, Carmen is the most attractive woman around. Arrested for the assault of a friend, she enthrals the brigadier Don José who lets her escape. For her, José abandons his childhood sweetheart, he gives up his rank, deserts the army… and to what ends will passion drive him when he loses Carmen's love to the glamorous bullfighter Escamillo?

The first Parisian audiences at the Opéra Comique in 1875 were shocked to see the incarnation of such an independent heroine. Today, Carmen is the French opera that is most performed around the globe. Magnificently recreated by Bizet, this a searing depiction of a woman who craves love but creates obsession and jealousy. After Bizet’s sudden death in the same year as the premiere, Carmen won the hearts of audiences in Vienna, Brussels, Saint-Petersburg, New York… and only triumphed in Paris in 1883. OperaVision is live in Zurich for its first ever stream from its famous Opernhaus in a production by Andreas Homoki first staged at Opéra Comique earlier this season and here conducted by Gianandrea Noseda.


Marina Viotti
Natalia Tanasii
Niamh O'Sullivan
Uliana Alexyuk
Don José
Saimir Pirgu
Łukasz Goliński
Le Remendado
Spencer Lang
Le Dancaïre
Jean-Luc Ballestra
Gregory Feldmann
Stanislav Vorobyov
Philharmonia Zürich
Oper Zürich Chorus
Oper Zürich SoprAlti Chorus
Children Chorus
Oper Zürich Children Chorus
Georges Bizet
Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy
Gianandrea Noseda
Andreas Homoki
Co-director and choreographer
Arturo Gama
Paul Zoller
Gideon Davey
Franck Evin
Chorus Master
Janko Kastelic
Kathrin Brunner



Sneak peek at Carmen

A woman who craves love but creates only obsession and jealousy

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Behind the scenes

Mezzo-soprano Marina Viotti

We meet mezzo-soprano Marina Viotti at Opernhaus Zürich. What is it like to debut as Carmen? Would Carmen and Escamillo have been happy if she had survived the opera? What should the audience take away?

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Behind the scenes

Director Andreas Homoki

Director Andreas Homoki introduces Bizet's opera Carmen, his interpretation of her character and his concept, bringing Carmen from Opéra Comique to Opernhaus Zürich.

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Act I

The story takes place in Seville, Spain. A group of soldiers are on duty at a cigarette factory. Micaëla, a ‘country lass with pigtails in a blue skirt’, comes to visit Corporal Don José. Moralès, another corporal, tells her that José will soon be arriving at the changing of the guard. Micaëla declines Moralès’ suggestion to wait with them and leaves. Shortly, town children enter followed by Lieutenant Zuniga and his soldiers. Moralès tells José that Micaëla has been looking for him. José explains that Micaëla is a girl living with his mother in his hometown. The midday bell sounds and the female workers of the factory emerge. The men have been waiting for this moment. Their main attention is on Carmen. Noticing that José is not attracted to her, Carmen takes the cassia flower from her bosom and throws it at him before exiting the scene. Micaëla reappears and gives José a letter and some money from his mother. In the letter his mother expresses her wish for him to return home soon and marry Micaëla. In the meantime, a fight breaks out in the factory and Carmen, having injured a fellow worker, is arrested. José is ordered to lead Carmen away, but he gives in to her seduction, frees her from the binding ropes and helps her escape.

Act II

At Lillas Pastia’s tavern. Zuniga tells Carmen that José, who has been serving his term in prison for letting Carmen escape, is being discharged today. A popular toreador called Escamillo enters. Escamillo and Carmen are attracted to each other, but at this point, Carmen is still in love with José. Two smugglers, Le Dancaïre and Le Remendado, arrive. They coax Carmen and her friends to join them in their business. Eventually, José arrives from prison. Carmen welcomes him, but is annoyed when José tries to leave with the bugle call. About to leave, José encounters a drunken Zuniga and a brawl breaks out. Having defied his superior, José has no other choice than to join the smugglers.


Scene 1

In the mountains, on the way to smuggling goods. Carmen’s love for José has turned totally cold. Carmen joins Frasquita and Mercédès in reading their fortunes from cards, but her death is predicted. Escamillo arrives and, acknowledging José as a love rival, starts a duel, which Le Dancaïre and the others intercept. Micaëla arrives in search of José and announces that his mother is dying. José descends the mountains with Micaëla.

Scene 2

At the bullring in Seville. Bullfighting is about to take place in front of a great crowd and the toreadors’ entrance is greeted by loud cheering. The last in the procession is Escamillo accompanied by Carmen. Carmen’s friends warn her to watch out since José is in town. Outside the arena where the cheering is still heard, José pleads with Carmen to reconcile with him. However, Carmen refuses coldly. Madly jealous, José stabs a knife into Carmen’s breast.