The Opera “Carmen” by Georges Bizet: A Masterpiece Based on a Controversial Novel

1. Introduction

It is known that “Carmen” is one of the most popular operas in the world. It was composed by Georges Bizet in 1875 and is based on the novel by Prosper Merimee. The novel itself is not that popular, but the opera has become a true masterpiece.

2. Bizet’s “Carmen” Based on the Merimee’s Text

– General information about the opera

“Carmen” is an opera in four acts. The libretto was written by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halevy, and it is based on Prosper Merimee’s novel of the same name.

The premiere took place on March 3, 1875, at the Opera-Comique in Paris, and it was not a success. The critics didn’t like it and the public was not ready for such a controversial work. Bizet died three months after the premiere, not knowing that his opera would become one of the most popular and beloved works in the history of music.

The first production outside of France was in Vienna in 1878. The opera was not successful there either, but it did better in other cities, such as London (1883), New York (1884), and Berlin (1885).

It wasn’t until 1896 that “Carmen” became a true success when it was performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Since then, it has been performed all over the world and is now one of the most popular operas ever written.
– Table of contents Carmen Act 1 No. 1 – Prélude No. 2 – Dialogue: “Là-bas, là-bas dans la montagne…” No.. 3 – Chanson Bohème: “Les tringles des sistres tintaient” No. 4 – Air: “La fleur que tu m’avais jetée” Act 2 No. 5 – Chanson du Toréador: “Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre” No. 6 – Air: “Je suis Escamillo”

3. Conclusion

Prosper Merimee’s novel “Carmen” is not as popular as Georges Bizet’s opera based on it, but the opera would not have been possible without the novel. The opera is more focused on the third part of the novel, the one which is more dramatic. But all in all, both the novel and the opera are masterpieces and are loved by many people all over the world.


The plot of Bizet's "Carmen" is based on the story of a gypsy woman named Carmen, who is seductive and manipulative. She eventually leads to the downfall of the soldier Don Jose.

The main characters in the opera are Carmen, Don Jose, and Escamillo.

Bizet's music contributes to the overall tone and feel of the piece by creating an atmosphere that is both sensual and dangerous.

Themes that are explored in "Carmen" include love, betrayal, passion, and death.

I personally think that "Carmen" is a very well-written opera with great music and interesting characters.