Carmen: Synopsis, Character Map


Carmen: Summary

Carmen, a gypsy woman, throws flowers at Don José, a Corporal of Dragoons, on a whim. In a scuffle between the women, José catches Carmen. Carmen seduces José and runs away, and José ends up in jail instead of Carmen.

A month later, Carmen is in a tavern, waiting for José to return from jail. A Toreador, Escamillo, stops by the tavern and falls in love with Carmen. He is turned down by Carmen and leaves.


My name is Carmen. You are free to love me. But don’t expect me to love you.


Ah! Well, let’s wait and see. Don’t give up hope.

José comes to see Carmen. José’s passionate love song. José causes a ruckus with his superior officer Zuniga. Jose leaves the army and joins a smuggling ring with Carmen.

A few months later, a rocky mountain in the middle of the night with a smuggling ring. The two are already on bad terms. A Toreador comes to visit Carmen. José and the Toreador get into a duel. José returns home after learning of his mother’s illness.

Carmen and Escamillo are in love with each other. José shows up and kills Carmen.

Don José

Somebody arrest me! I killed Carmen! I killed the woman I love!

Carmen: Character Map

Carmen: Character Map
Carmen: Character Map

Carmen: Roles

Carmena Gypsy Girlmezzo-soprano
Don JoséCorporal of Dragoonstenor
Micaëlaa Village Maidensoprano
ZunigaLieutenant of Dragoonsbass
FrasquitaCompanion of Carmensoprano
MercédèsCompanion of Carmenmezzo-soprano
Le DancaïreSmugglerbaritone
Le RemendadoSmugglertenor
  • Native title: Carmen
  • Composers: Georges Bizet
  • Librettist: Ludovic Halévy, Henri Meilhac
  • Based on: Carmen by Prosper Mérimée
  • Language: French
  • Premiere: March 3, 1875, Opéra-Comique, Paris
  • Running time: 2 hours 40 minutes (Act 1: 55 minutes, Act 2: 45 minutes, Act 3: 40 minutes, Act 4: 20 minutes)