Children must be at least six years old to attend.

Miami performances are at the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, 1300 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami.

Fort Lauderdale performances are at the Au-Rene Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW 5th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale.

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Audio Clips:           

Georges Bizet
Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy

The music, the passion, the brutality. It's a red-hot opera spectacle!

“The principal reason to see this Carmen, is Kendall Gladen in the title role...(She is) a statuesque beauty, and her voice is a marvel—large, lustrous, rich-toned and pliant, with wonderfully burnished low notes and a pure, effortless-sounding top.” Oakland Review

“Cuban American Elaine Alvarez has an imposing dusky soprano...speaks from the soul.” Opera Now

You know the story, you adore the music. The seductive and tempestuous gypsy, Carmen, captures the heart of a young soldier, Don José. He sacrifices everything to be with her. Now a fugitive on the run, his life is in ruins. Unfortunately, she is drawn to the dashing matador, Escamillo, and casts Don José aside, which seals her fate. In his passionate confrontation with Carmen outside the bullring, Don José's pleas for her to take him back are met with cold rejection...and the tragic murder that concludes the opera devastates audiences as much today as it did in 1875 when Carmen first premiered.

Bizet's score features one great melody after another, from the overture to the famous “Habanera” to the stirring “Toreador's Song.” The passion of Flamenco, together with intoxicating dances and riveting drama set in the colorful backdrop of Seville, makes Carmen arguably the most famous opera of all time.

Featured in the title role is American mezzo-soprano Kendall Gladen, who last performed this role in 2008 for Los Angeles Opera, with Plácido Domingo conducting. Tenor Adam Diegel, Don José, was a National Finalist in the 2003 Metropolitan Opera National Auditions and recently made his European debut as Maurizio in Adriana Lecouvreur at the National Theater of Hungary. Miami's own Elaine Alvarez, Micaëla, made her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut as Mimì in the season -opening production of Puccini's La bohème, receiving the highest accolades. Mark Walters, Escamillo, returns to FGO after making his debut here last season as Giorgio Germont in La traviata. Returning to conduct is FGO former artistic director Willie Anthony Waters. The former artistic director of Connecticut Opera, Maestro Waters conducts internationally and is a frequent guest on Metropolitan Opera broadcast intermission features.


cast headshots

Kendall Gladen

Don José
Adam Diegel

Elaine Alvarez

Mark Walters

Willie Anthony Waters

Stage Director
Renaud Doucet

Set and Costume Designer
André Barbe

Lighting Designer
Guy Simard

Florida Grand Opera

Kendall Gladen as Carmen. Photo courtesy of Robert Shomler for Festival Opera.

Sung in French with English and Spanish projected titles.

Broward performances sponsored by Ben and Carol Harrison in loving memory of Ben


Act I: A plaza in Seville

Some soldiers pass the time. A country girl, Micaëla, approaches looking for Don José, a corporal. The soldiers try to get her to wait with them. She says she will return when José is on duty.

José arrives with the changing of the guard. At noon, women emerge from a cigarette factory. The last out is the gypsy Carmen, who teases the men with the possibility of her love. She throws a flower at José, who has ignored her, and reenters the factory with the other women.

Micaëla delivers a letter and a kiss from José’s mother. After she leaves, José is persuaded by the letter to marry Micaëla. Suddenly, there is a commotion: Carmen and another worker have been fighting. Captain Zuniga sends José to arrest Carmen, who refuses to speak. Zuniga leaves José in charge while he prepares to have her jailed. Carmen persuades José to allow her to escape. He unties her, and Carmen pushes him over and escapes through the crowd. José is arrested.

Act II: Lillas Pastia’s inn, one month later

Carmen and her friends Frasquita and Mercédès entertain the customers. Zuniga tells Carmen that José is out of jail. He suggests that she could do better than him, but she is currently in love and cannot think of another.

A crowd is heard cheering Escamillo, a toreador. He sings a song of bravery in the corrida and flirts with Carmen, but she indicates that she is taken at the moment. As he leaves, Escamillo invites Carmen and her friends to come see him in the ring. When the last customer has left, Le Dancaïre and Le Remendado try to persuade the women to join them on a smuggling expedition. Frasquita and Mercédès agree, but Carmen is not interested. José’s voice is heard, and the friends leave Carmen alone.

Carmen greets José warmly. He interrupts her when he hears the summons to quarters. Carmen is outraged and tells him not to come back. He pulls the remains of her flower from his jacket and tells her that only the flower’s fragrance and the anticipation of her love made his jail term bearable. He swears he loves her. In that case, she says, he should desert and come with her to freedom. José refuses and is about to leave when Zuniga returns and derides Carmen’s choice of men. José attacks Zuniga. Only the return of the smugglers prevents bloodshed. José, now effectively a deserter, joins Carmen and the smugglers.

Act III: The smugglers’ hideout in the mountains

The smugglers camp before making a night border crossing. José’s homesickness and jealousy have stifled Carmen’s love. When Carmen and her friends read their fortunes, Mercédès sees true love, Frasquita sees riches, but Carmen can see only death—for herself and for José. As the smugglers leave, they post José as lookout over the campsite.

Micaëla arrives and prays for courage. A gunshot frightens her into hiding. Escamillo arrives and tells José that he has come to find Carmen. Infuriated, José challenges Escamillo to a duel. Once again, the smugglers’ arrival ends a fight. As Escamillo leaves, he invites all those who love him to come see him in the ring in Seville.

Micaëla is discovered and tells José she was sent to bring him home because his mother is dying. José leaves with Micaëla.

Act IV: Outside the bullring in Seville

A festive crowd gathers. Carmen arrives on Escamillo’s arm, and they pledge their love. After Escamillo enters the enclosure, Frasquita and Mercédès warn Carmen that José is nearby. Carmen refuses to hide from him.

José appears and reproaches Carmen. She replies that she has only ever been faithful to herself. As José’s desperation becomes pathetic, Carmen taunts him with her love for Escamillo and finally flings away a ring José had given her. She gives him an ultimatum: kill her or let her go. Pushed beyond endurance, José stabs her and cries out, horrified at what he has done.

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