3-22 September 2022


Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Main stage

Running time



From €29


Vive la liberté!

She is an enchanting seductress, the quintessential femme fatale and she represents all that is exotic. Carmen, the most popular fictional character in French opera, is back! Robert Carsen’s staging of Carmen strips the opera of its clichés and kitsch, while retaining the essence of the Spanish spirit. A good 150 years have passed since the opera first premièred in Paris, but Carmen, the heroine of this tale, continues to capture the imagination of audiences with her undisguised sensuality and free-spirited mentality.

Photo: J'Nai Bridges | © Dario Acosta

Vive la liberté!

In 1875, Carmen was typecast by Bizet as the ultimate sultry siren – alluring and irresistible to men. She embodied everything that went against the grain of propriety, exposing the secret, inner desires of respectable citizens in the 19th century. Carmen’s nonconformist approach highlights the general parochial mindset of the time, which was punctuated by self-righteous morality. In 19th century culture, Carmen personified exoticism and the longing people felt for faraway places. She is intoxicating, intriguing audiences with her uncompromising approach to life, unwilling to sacrifice either love or freedom. She lives life true to her ideals and is fearless in her pursuit of these: vive la liberté!

Young Canadian conductor Jordan de Souza, hailed as a pioneer of his generation, will make his Dutch National Opera debut and promises to provide a refreshing interpretation of Bizet’s score. The production will feature a cast of exceptional singers, including French tenor Stanislas de Barbeyrac as Don José and mezzosoprano J’Nai Bridges, whose portrayal of Carmen is in great international demand.

Performance information

Lyric drama in four acts

Sung in French

Libretto  Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on the novella by Prosper Mérimée

Musical direction  Jordan de Souza
Stage direction  Robert Carsen
Set design  Michael Levine
Costume design  Falk Bauer
Lighting design  Robert Carsen Peter van Praet 
Choreography  Marco Berriel

Don José  Stanislas de Barbeyrac 
Escamillo  Lukasz Golinski 
Le Dancaïre  Michael Wilmering 
Le Remendado Ian Castro*
Zuniga  Frederik Bergman 
Morales  Opera Studio 
Carmen  J’Nai Bridges 
Micaëla  Adriana González 
Frasquita  Inna Demenkova*
Mercédès  Polly Leech
Lilas Pastia  Laurent D’Elia

* Dutch National Opera Studio

Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra

Chorus of Dutch National Opera
Chorusmaster Lionel Sow

Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderkoor (part of Nieuw Vocaal Amsterdam)
Rehearsals children’s chorus  Anaïs de la Morandais

‘Carmen embodies everyone’s ideal of freedom’


Order tickets

Loading tickets...
J'Nai Bridges

J’Nai Bridges discusses Carmen – her dream role

Mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges had always dreamt of singing Carmen; now the femme fatale has become one of her signature starring roles. Although... femme fatale? Bridges elaborates: “Carmen is a complex character, but she makes no pretences about who she is. She’s very clear about what she wants. The problem lies with Don José: he chooses not to listen to her.”

Photo: J'Nai Bridges | © Todd Rosenberg

Participate in Carmen!

Do you not only enjoy visiting operas, but would you also like to play in a production yourself one day? Then sign up now as a participant in Georges Bizet's popular opera Carmen. We are looking for 400 volunteers for the stands in the arena.


Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra

Dutch National Opera has a long-standing and proud history with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra | the Nether­lands Chamber Orchestra, which has been its main orchestra partner for the past 30 years. It is widely considered to be one of the best opera orchestras in the world.

© Melle Meivogel

Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra

Naturally, it also performs in concerts of its own and then its go-to venue is the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In addition to its collabo­ration with chief conductor Lorenzo Viotti and music director of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra Gordan Nikolić, the orchestra regularly works with internationally renowned guest conductors and soloists, as well as a whole new generation of excellent musicians. It has played on countless stages, using music to connect people by giving exceptional performances that inspire both connoisseurs and novices alike. The orches­tra's base is in the warm and welcoming NedPhO-Dome in the ‘lndische Buurt’ in Amsterdam, ensuring it is at the heart of the community. In this way, the orchestra hopes to make classical music more approachable to a wider audience.

Season 2022/23 will see the Dutch Philharmonic Orchestra join us for our season-opener Carmenas well as for Königs­kinder, Turandot and Der RosenkavalierThe Netherlands Chamber Orchestra will provide the orchestral accompani­ment for Animal Farm and Maria Stuarda.

Dutch National Opera Studio is made possible by

read more
Lorenzo Viotti

‘I give my all to projects I believe in’

Read more
Stijn Schoonderwoerd

‘We want to continue enchanting our audiences’

Read more
others also viewed


Maria Stuarda
Maria Stuarda
6 - 28 May 2023 | 8 performances
Dutch National Opera, Main Stage

A scorching face-off that is both personal and political, and ultimately proves to be...

info & tickets


Der Rosenkavalier
Der Rosenkavalier
13 April - 2 May 2023 | 7 performances
Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Main Stage

In Der Rosenkavalier, Richard Strauss presents a world on the brink of vanishing. The...

info & tickets


Operetta Land
Operetta Land
20 November - 30 December 2022 | 6 performances
Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Main Stage

Operetta Land doesn’t exist. It’s an imaginary place, with imaginary people, who have...

info & tickets

Opera & ballet online

Can't get enough of opera? Discover more than 2.584 hours of:

  • arias and scenes
  • behind-the-scenes videos
  • interviews & articles