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The tale of the femme fatale is probably as old as the art of storytelling. The enticing seductress who can take anyone's breath away both literally and figuratively has been adding a new dimension to suspense drama performance art pieces for quite a while. Most notably, the Bond movies utilize the femme fatale stock characters quite often. Over time, the femme fatales have evolved and taken a much central role in the wake of gender equality and modernism. Carmen is a product of the same evolution. French composer Georges Bizet’s Carmen has earned accolades because of the wonderful characterization and the fitting score for years. The eponymous siren of the opera is about to set up camp at the beautiful Sydney Opera House and ensnare the attention of Don Jose and every lucky witness who will be in attendance.

About the Show

Carmen was penned by French writer Prosper Merimée and serialized in 1845. The writer had admitted that the inspiration for the original novella was derived from a story narrated to him by the Countess of Montijo in Spain. The writer, at the time, was studying gypsies, and that is why Carmen’s character was made to be a gypsy. Carmen is possibly the most frequently performed opera in the world. It was first staged in 1875 and, as is the case with most timeless works of art, was dismissed by critics and audiences alike. Carmen was Bizet’s final opera, and certainly the most memorable one.

Carmen marked both the renewal of French opera and a return to the ways of Rameau, Gluck, and Berlioz. This production of Carmen at the Sydney Opera House sees John Bell’s bold take come to life. During the three-month run, the titular role will be played by Veronica Simeoni, Sian Sharp, and Carmen Topciu. The show will be conducted by Christian Badea and Tahu Matheson.

The Story

The plot of the opera takes us to Seville in the 1820s. It begins somewhere between a tobacco factory and a guardhouse. It is at this place that we are introduced to the soprano essaying Carmen. She is a charming gypsy grabbing the attention of all men. Don Jose, a soldier, is among them. Despite being engaged, Don Jose cannot help but be captivated by her. Carmen creates some trouble and has to be imprisoned, but Don Jose lets her flee.

When Jose eventually finds her, he professes his love for her and follows her to the mountains. What follows is an emotional tale generously sprinkled with love, betrayal, outlaws, and a crime of passion. Will the femme fatale see the depth of Don Jose’s love or will her eyes wander again? Will the soldier reap the benefits of his persuasion or will the bad karma of abandoning his naive fiance catch up to him? Carmen is a roller coaster ride that has a lot to offer.

Practical Info

Show Details

The show will run from January 11 to March 26, 2020.

Show Timings

Varies. Check calendar for available dates.

2 hours 50 minutes including one interval.

Leading Roles

Veronica Simeoni, Sian Sharp, and Carmen Topicu as Carmen
Roberto Aronica, Yonghoon Lee, and Otar Jorjikia as Christine Daae
Łukasz Golinski, Christopher Hillier, and Luke Gabbedy as Escamillo

Directed by
John Bell


The show is suitable for audiences of the age of 12 years and above.

Available Facilities
Wheelchair Accessible
English and Simplified Chinese surtitles

The Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House has a seating capacity of 1,507.

Outside Food
Strictly prohibited. Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian food options will be available at the venue.

Carmen Sydney Opera House Tickets

Looking for Carmen Sydney Opera House tickets?

Have a look at the real-time seat availability and prices of different sections for Carmen. Select the date that you would like to watch the show and check out the seats available for that day. You can filter the seats as per your desired price range and purchase tickets directly.

Carmen - Sydney Opera House Ticket Prices

Circle D: AU$ 99 onwards
Circle C: AU$ 171 onwards
Circle B: AU$ 232 onwards
Circle A: AU$ 285 onwards
Circle Premium: AU$ 335 onwards

Click here to get a discount code for booking Carmen Sydney Opera House tickets.


Since 1875, Carmen has been renewed and showcased several times in multiple languages. This run of Carmen will begin on January 11, 2020, and will end on March 26, 2020. The performance will be in French, directed by John Hall, based on the revival direction of Constantine Costi.

Critic Reviews

“Kosky’s choreographer for the big show numbers, of which there are many, is Otto Pichler, who has provided cast, chorus and six dancers with sinewy hand-jiving routines, some of which are very camp, though the Chanson Bohème at the start of act two has wonderful loucheness.”
The Guardian

“It’s fascinating – and modern – to see a Carmen that flouts stereotyped portrayals and appears to author the opera for herself. The dialogue that many are familiar with in the opera is compressed and replaced by one long narration from a mysterious figure over the tannoy that we assume must be her. Kosky calls it a “hallucination review” that’s “like a strange, erotic bedtime story."

Note: The reviews are of earlier versions of the show.


Q: What time should I arrive at Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House?
A: Doors to the Joan Sutherland Theater will open 30 minutes before the show. Please arrive before the doors are open to avoid the last-minute rush.

Q: Can I take photographs or videos of the show?
A: The use of cameras (still and video) and sound recorders is not allowed inside the theatre. Prior permission is required in case of professional use.

Q: What do I wear to the show?
A: There is no formal dress code at the Joan Sutherland Theatre. However, you are requested to be discreet with your clothing choices as this is an opera show.

Q: Is it possible to cancel/amend my tickets in case I'm unable to attend the show?
A: For groups smaller than 8, cancellation is possible up to 48 hours in advance.

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