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Carlos Acosta adapts Bizet’s opera for dance, with spectacular designs by Tim Hatley and a re-orchestration by Martin Yates.

Most recent performance

There are currently no scheduled performances of Carmen. It was last on stage 26 October—12 November 2015.

The Story

Don José falls in love with Carmen and sacrifices everything to be with her. When Carmen becomes infatuated with the toreador Escamillo, she loses interest in Don José, whose love quickly turns to violent jealousy.

Read more… (Contains spoilers)


Georges Bizet’s Carmen is one of the most successful operas ever written. Its gorgeous melodies have secured the opera’s hold on the popular imagination – Escamillo’s Toreador Song, Carmen’s Habanera, Don José’s Flower Song and many passages for orchestra and chorus are among the most widely known pieces of Western classical music. This melodic richness, combined with a searingly dramatic story adapted from a novella by Prosper Mérimée, has made Carmen attractive bait for choreographers: figures as diverse as Marius Petipa, Roland Petit, Alberto Alonso, Mats Ek and Richard Alston have all been drawn to this tale of jealousy and desire.

Carlos Acosta, Principal Guest Artist of The Royal Ballet and one of the most famed dancers in the world, now presents his own adaptation of Bizet and Mérimée’s story. In his new version for The Royal Ballet, the story’s universal and timeless themes are laid bare in a sparse and powerful setting. Martin Yates, orchestrator for Don Quixote, provides an original adaptation of Bizet’s score, including onstage roles for the Royal Opera Chorus and a flamenco musician.

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