Dutch National Opera presents

Carmen GEORGES BIZET (1838-1875)

This show was to been seen in May 2020


Duration 3:50

Breaks 2

By Georges Bizet

Language French

Surtitles Dutch and English

The government’s temporary decision to ban events and gatherings until 1 June 2020, in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus, means that Dutch National Opera & Ballet will be closed until that date. Read more information here: operaballet.nl/corona-update

Year in, year out, Georges Bizet's Carmen works its magic around the world. With her unashamed sensuality, the popular opera heroine still has the power to stir our imaginations.


While Bizet’s Carmen is a femme fatale of almost mythic appeal, it was above all the exoticism that she personified as a gypsy which originally made the opera such a great success. Answering to no one, Carmen embodied the desires suppressed by nineteenth-century bourgeois propriety, as well as the freedom to live and love unfettered by petty morality.

Passion and longing for death

In the world of opera, Carmen is the female counterpart of Don Giovanni, the master seducer. As much as we sympathise with her ‘victim’, Don José, there is no resisting her allure. Brimming with passion but never pathos, the story unfolds to its inevitable tragic end, fuelled beneath it all by a profound longing for death.

Team and cast Carmen

Spanish soul
According to Robert Carsen, who is directing this immensely successful production of Carmen, the opera has an intrinsic ‘Spanishness’. Far from the superficial, kitschy picture-postcard image of Seville, the French Bizet managed to capture the true Spanish soul in his music.

Bullfight with 400 extras!
In the fourth act of Carmen, some 400 extras witness the bullfight and Carmen’s violent death from semi-circular stands erected on stage. This situation creates a large circle that brings the singers and music as close as possible to the audience.

The young Columbian conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada leads the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Having already worked with several of the largest orchestras in the world, Carmen is his debut at DNO.

‘Drame lyrique’ in 4 acts

Henri Meilhac
Ludovic Halévy
World premiere
3 March 1875
Opéra Comique


Team, Cast and Chorus

Musical Director
Andrés Orozco-Estrada
Stage Director
Robert Carsen
Set Designer
Michael Levine
Costume Designer
Falk Bauer
Lighting Designer
Robert Carsen
Peter van Praet
Marco Berriel
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
Chorus of Dutch National Opera
Chorus Master
Ching-Lien Wu
Children's Chorus
Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderkoor
Chorus Master
Caro Kindt
Don José
Dmytro Popov
Alexander Vinogradov
Le Dancaïre
Martin Mkhize - Dutch National Opera Studio

Le Remendado
Lucas van Lierop - Dutch National Opera Studio
Cody Quattlebaum
Michael Wilmering
J'Nai Bridges
Anett Fritsch
Verity Wingate - Dutch National Opera Studio
Polly Leech - Dutch National Opera Studio

Robert Carsen


With Dutch National Opera, the Canadian director Robert Carsen has staged Dialogues des Carmélites, Fidelio, Carmen and Falstaff.


Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
The Rotterdams Philharmonic Orchestra, established in 1918, has gained global fame for the intensity of its concerts and colourful sound. The chief conductor is Lahav Shani, and his predecessors Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Valery Gergiev remain honorary conductors. Most recently, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra accompanied the DNO productions of Faust, Benvenuto Cellini, Prince Igor and Les contes dHoffmann. In the 2018-2019 season, it is accompanying the European première of John Adams’ Girls of the Golden West, and in 2020 Carmen.​​


Chorus of Dutch National Opera 
Dutch National Opera's own chorus consists of 50 singers, regularly augmented with freelance members for large productions. The Chorus has an impressive record with milestones including opera productions of Saint Francois dAssise, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, Ercole amante, Boris Godoenov, La Juive, Les Troyens, Eugene Onegin, Parsifal, Guillaume Tell, The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh, Faust, La forza del destino, Das Flos der Medusa, Oedipe and Tannhauser, and concerts of Der fliegende Hollander in Rotterdam, Paris and Dortmund and Daphnis et Chloe with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev. Under the artistic direction of Ching-Lien Wu since 1 September 2014, in 2016 the authoritative Opernwelt magazine named the DNO Chorus the Best Opera Chorus of the year. In the 2019-2020 season the Chorus is singing in Pagliacci |Cavalleria rusticana, Così fan tutte, La Cenerentola, Nabucco, Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, Die Frau ohne Schatten, Carmen and Rusalka.

Children's chorus

Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderkoor
The Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderkoor is the regular youth chorus of Dutch National Opera & Ballet and part of Nieuw Vocal Amsterdam, a classical voice training programme for ages 4 to 21. In the 2019-2020 season the Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderkoor is singing in the operas Pagliacci, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Carmen and the ballet Nutcracker & Mouse King. The chorus is also singing during the Open Day and the Children's Choir Day. 

    Tue 05 Feb NRC Carmen 2009

    ‘That fact alone would be enough to win audiences for this Carmen; though banning kitsch, Carsen harnesses Carmen's visual potential (bulls, prostitutes, children, soldiers) to maximum effect.’

    Tue 05 Feb AD - Carmen 2009

    ‘Carsen’s Carmen transcends cliché but loses none of its believability.’

    Tue 05 Feb Carmen - De Telegraaf 2009

    ‘Although the raw realism of the original has been cast in a one-dimensional contemporary mould, Carsen's acting direction within this limitation is lucid and convincing as always.’

    Thu 23 Jan Deutschlandfunk - Carmen, 2009

    Doch hat De Nationale Opera mit der berühmtesten Arbeit von Georges Bizet wohl tatsächlich etwas Neues zu Wege gebracht - auf höchstem Niveau. Marc Albrecht entlockt dem Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest eine eher elegant als drastisch angelegte Interpretation, prozessierte auch feine Nuancen heraus, ohne den Fluss und Drive der Bizetschen Nummern auch nur einen Moment zu zerzieseln. Die bukolischen Klänge zu Beginn des Schmuggler-Ausflugs in die Berge war von ausgesuchtester Delikatesse und selbst zum emotional so heftigen Ende stellte sich keine allzu grelle Drastik oder gar Brutalität ein."[...] "Robert Carsen hat es in jeder Hinsicht brillant theatralisiert.’

    Thu 14 Feb Carmen - Place de l’Opera, 2009

    ‘The Canadian showed a good command of the score, sometimes wielding it like a soundtrack to build as flowing and gripping a narrative as any skilled storyteller.’