Carmen and Don José

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

One of opera's most beloved love stories

by David Johnson

A story by French writer Prosper Mérimée, Carmen is the basis for one of the best-loved operas.

Carmen was a fiery gypsy girl who worked in a cigar factory. An army officer, Don José, was called to the factory because a fight broke out. He arrested Carmen because she hit another woman. He became enchanted with the exotic Carmen, and let her escape.

Don José deserted the army and followed Carmen into the mountains. But the beautiful gypsy soon tired of the steadfast Don José, and she fell in love with Escamillo, a dashing bullfighter. Devastated, Don José confronted Carmen outside the bullring. As the crowd cheered Escamillo in the background, Don José stabbed Carmen to death.

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