|Libretto:||Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on the novel by Prosper Mérimée|
|Premiere:||Paris, March 3, 1875|
Though Carmen is now a universal favorite, the opera's first performances failed miserably, and a disheartened Bizet died three months later. Soon after his death overwhelming audience acclaim greeted work, set in a vividly romanticized Spanish world, where the gypsy cigarette girl Carmen taunts corporal Don Josè with her flamboyant charms. Even the gentle peasant girl Micaela, who loves Don Josè , cannot break Carmen's spell, and the corporal gives up everything to follow the fickle gypsy into the mountains. She quickly tires of Don Josè and runs off with the handsome matador Escamillo, fatalistically embracing the warning of death she has seen in the cards. As Escamillo triumphs in the bullring, Carmen is confronted by Don Josè in a nearby alley, and this time, her defiance cannot save her.