CARMEN in Santa Fe

The SANTA FE OPERA Presents:


8:30 pm June 27; July 2, 5, 11, 18
8:00 pm July 28; August 2, 6, 11, 16, 20, 23
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2014 Carmen Large

What makes Carmen the world’s most popular opera? Simple: It sizzles. Carmen is an archetypal love story of irresistible dramatic sweep, a meditation on fate and freedom, and an unforgettable portrait of the definitive femme fatale. But most of all, it is music: the highest expression of Bizet’s genius, a trove of melodies that capture all the sun and sensuality of Carmen herself. The international cast for this Carmen comes to Santa Fe from many countries. Argentinian Daniela Mack (6/27-7/18) and Ana María Martínez from Puerto Rico (7/28-8/23) share the title role. Don José, Roberto De Biaso, has catapulted to the forefront of romantic tenors in only seven years since his debut in Bergamo, Italy. The swaggering toreador Escamillo is sung by the bass-baritone Kostas Smoriginas, praised as “utterly charismatic, physically and vocally” (The Guardian) in this role. The exciting young Scottish maestro Rory Macdonald conducts. Stephen Lawless, whose imaginative productions of The Elixir of Love (2009) and Faust (2011) captivated audiences, will direct.


Composer Georges Bizet
Librettists Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy

Sung in French

Near a cigarette factory in a square, a group of soldiers gather. Micaëla, a peasant girl approaches them and inquires about a corporal, Don José. She is teased and leaves. Don José arrives at the changing of the guard and learns that Micaëla has been looking for him. The factory bell rings and the men watch the women – especially the gypsy Carmen – arrive in the square. She tells the men about love and freedom. The one man who pays her no attention, Don José, is the one Carmen throws a flower to. The women return to work and José hides the flower. Micaëla returns with a letter and kisses from his mother.

A fight breaks out at the cigarette factory involving Carmen, and Lieutenant Zuniga orders José to take Carmen to prison. She seduces José and suggests a rendezvous at Pastia’s tavern. He agrees to let her escape, and then he himself is arrested.

At Lillas Pastia’s tavern, Carmen, Frasquita, and Mercédes celebrate the gypsy life. The toreador Escamillo enters and flirts with Carmen. The smugglers Dancaïre and Remendado enter and explain their latest operation to Carmen and her friends. She refuses to join them as she is in love with and waiting for José. He arrives at the tavern and she dances for him. When a bugle sounds, José says he must return to the barracks and she becomes angry. José shows her the flower she gave him that he had kept throughout prison. Carmen insists that if he really loved her, he would desert the army. Zuniga interrupts the pair, provoking José, and the smugglers return and disarm Zuniga. José now has no choice but to join the gypsies.

In a mountain hideaway, Carmen and José quarrel. She tells him her love is waning and that he should return to his mother. Carmen joins Frasquita and Mercédes who find wealth and fortune in their fortune cards, but Carmen only finds death for herself and José. Micaëla wanders into the mountains and is startled by a gunshot: José has fired at Escamillo who is in search of Carmen. The two fight until the smugglers break it up. The toreador invites everyone, especially Carmen, to a bullfight. Micaëla appears and pleads with José to return to his dying mother, and José agrees but warns Carmen that she will see him again.

At a bullfight, a crowd cheers for Ecamillo’s arrival. Carmen and the toreador declare their love for each other although José is nearby. José begs Carmen to start a new life with him, but she says their affair is over. She says she loves Escamillo and throws at José the ring he gave her. He stabs her to death.


  • Carmen (6/27 – 7/18) – Daniela Mack
  • Carmen (7/28 – 8/23) – Ana María Martínez
  • Don José – Roberto De Biasio
  • Escamillo – Kostas Smoriginas
  • Micaëla – Joyce El-Khoury
  • Zuniga – Evan Hughes
  • Le Remendado – Noah Baetge
  • Conductor – Rory Macdonald
  • Director – Stephen Lawless
  • Scenic Designer – Benoit Dugardyn
  • Costume Designer – Jorge Jara
  • Lighting Designer – Pat Collins
  • Choreographer – Nicola Bowie
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