Carmen: A Smuggling Ring Storyline on The Bachelorette

Another edition of Sneakers at the Opera with Rosie Waterland

Rosie Waterland was a guest of Opera Australia at Carmen the Sydney Opera House in 2020. This is her unedited review of the experience.

I finally found it. The opera version of The Bachelor.

Well, The Bachelorette, to be exact (which let’s face it, is even better, because everyone knows men are waaaaay bigger bitches and gossips than women, which means their Polygamy Palace dramas are always way more entertaining).

I’ve been bringing you Sneakers at the Opera for almost a year now, AND I’VE FINALLY FOUND A WAY TO MAKE IT ABOUT THE BACHELOR FRANCHISE. So many of my favourite things are coming together at once. I don’t know what to do with myself.

The opera this time around is Carmen, and, as Osher’s Hair would say, "She, Ladies and Gentleman, is our Bachelorette."

Veronica Simeoni as Carmen in Carmen at the Sydney Opera House

Osher's Hair APPROVED. Photo by Keith Saunders.

Now Carmen is everything you want a Bachelorette to be. She’s confident, funny, unapologetically herself, and doesn’t apologise for wanting to make out with lots of men until she finds one she truly loves.

The men in Carmen, however, are everything you DON’T want Bachelorette contestants to be, but usually are. They’re possessive, jealous, sooky man-babies who treat Carmen like a prize to be won, or a possession to be owned. And since this is the opera, which is far, far more dramatic than any season of The Bachelorette could ever hope to be, things end up pretty intense in the end (and I’m not just talking about no winner being chosen… that drama is TAME compared to this.)

So, the main contender/possible husband vying for Carmen’s heart is this dude, Don José:

Veronica Simeoni as Carmen and Roberto Aronica as Don Jose in Carmen at the Sydney Opera House

Nope, not instense looking AT ALL. This is going of end fine. Photo by Keith Saunders.

Pretty much the second he walks down the red carpet (i.e. when Carmen bumps into him in town), she puts him in top spot. She even chucks him a flower, and everyone knows in Bachelor-land that whoever gets the first rose on the first night is the FAVOURITE.

But, this is The Bachelorette Carmen, which means there are a bunch more men (and ratings-grabbing challenges) on the menu. The first challenge of which is that Don José gets sent to prison for letting Carmen go after she gets arrested (not sure how Osher would explain that one). Carmen is pretty devo that he’s out of action for a while, but she figures she’ll keep seeing other guys in the meantime because… well, who wouldn’t?

This dude, Escamillo, gets a single date but Carmen isn’t super into it:

Carmen at Sydney Opera House

You're cute and I'm sure you'll get Insta famous selling teeth-whitening kits after the show, but I really just like Don José. Photo by Keith Saunders.

Then two other guys, Remendado and Dancairo (perfect #insta names), try to win Carmen’s heart by asking her to join their smuggling ring, where she’ll get lots of fancy, free (read: stolen) stuff. I’ve never seen a smuggling ring storyline on The Bachelorette, but I’m fairly certain Osher wouldn’t approve of illegal activity, and would definitely whip out that infamous shade face again:


Don José finally passes his prison challenge, and comes back to Carmen. She’s psyched, but then he tells her he needs to leave for a while because he’s in the army and he’s got to go back to his proper army job. And Carmen IS. NOT. HAVING. IT.

She’s like, “Um, excuse me, if you truly love me you won’t go.” And he’s like, “If you truly love me you’ll let me go.” And she’s like, “LOL truly love? I’M the Bachelorette. I’m the boss. And if you decide to leave then we’re DONE. I’ll just move onto the next guy.”

So Don José stays. And they join the smuggling ring together because apparently in opera, smuggling = romance.

But then, GASP TWIST DRAMAAAAH… Carmen kind of starts getting over Don José. She realises she didn’t give, Escamillo — that dude she went on the single date with — enough of a chance. She kind of thinks he’s cute now.

Veronica Simeoni as Carmen in Carmen at the Sydney Opera House

Every Bachelorette needs to look off into the distance at least once to do some serious thinking. Photo by Keith Saunders.

She breaks the news to Don José, who LOSES IT. I mean, he did give up everything in order to win this dating show be with Carmen. But she’s just like, “Dude. You knew what this was. You knew you weren’t the only guy I was seeing. YOU DON’T OWN ME AND I’M ALLOWED TO CHANGE MY MIND.”

Meanwhile, there’s this girl called Micaëla, who is desperately in love with Don José. She grew up with him and knows his mum and his whole family wants them to get married. She is pretty much the equivalent of the bitchy girl at home-town visits who hates the Bachelorette and will do anything to stop her friend from ending up with Carmen. She slut-shames her, says Don José  deserves better, begs him to leave the show come home…

Veronica Simeoni as Carmen, Roberto Aronica as Don Jose and Claudia Pavone as Micaela in Opera Australia's production of Carmen at the Sydney Opera House

“I’m sweet and virginal and she’s slutty and awful and people on twitter will be thrilled if you quit the show and come home with me and then we can be on the cover of New Idea together!” Photo by Keith Saunders.

But Don José can’t let go of Carmen. He thinks he won her fair and square, so he tries one last time to convince her that she belongs to him. But she’s made up her mind: Escamillo is the winner. He is the one she wants to go to Gold Coast club openings with, until they break up in a year. Don José is the runner-up.

And he… does not take it well. Like, he really doesn’t take it well. I won’t reveal the ending to you, but let’s just say if Osher was ever going to do his Shade Face again, this would be the Osher Shade Face to end all Osher Shade Faces. In fact, the whole opera could pretty much end with this:

Carmen is a wild ride, friends. With all the best bits of The Bachelorette but with even more added DRAMAAAAH, it’s an epic show. If you’re looking to go to your first opera, and you love any and all reality dating shows, this is the one you should pick. And, you know, I’m somewhat of an expert in both now, so you can take my word for it. And Osher’s Hair’s.