Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre


In the heat, dust and danger of the city, fiery Carmen sings her siren song. With each seductive note, the guileless Don José is drawn into her world: a world of smugglers in suits, a world outside society's bounds.

What kind of person chooses a love that they know will destroy them? What kind of person sees that destiny, and dances towards it, without fear?

"I've always been intrigued by the psychology of that choice," says John Bell, who follows up his phenomenal Tosca with a new production of Carmen. "What leads you to love the one person who is going to destroy you?"

Underneath the irresistible Spanish tunes is a gritty tale of power, corruption and destruction waiting to be told, Bell says.

Carmen is colourful, physical and entertaining, but it shouldn't get "too pretty", he adds. To succeed, it must have punch. Sex and sexual politics. Physicality and power.

This new take on Bizet's famous opera hones in on the relationships at its heart, on the wild love that promises freedom while binding the lovers in an unbreakable web of fate.


The ultimate femme fatale is here to stamp her feet, toss her hair and dance. Will she love Don José? Maybe. Will you fall for her sultry Habanera? Definitely.

Enjoy dinner before the opera at Arts Centre Melbourne

A couple dines at Arts Centre Melbourne before the operaAllow us to make your dinner reservation for you: 6pm at Café Vic. You'll be served a themed three-course menu for just $75, including matched wine. View the menu.

Simply add dinner to your cart after selecting tickets.

Conductor Brian Castles-Onion
Director John Bell
Revival Director Roger Press
Set Designer Michael Scott-Mitchell
Costume Designer Teresa Negroponte
Lighting Designer Trent Suidgeest
Choreographer Kelley Abbey
Fight Choreographer Nigel Poulton
Assistant to Choreographer Elysha Manik
Carmen Rinat Shaham
Don José

Dmytro Popov

Escamillo Shane Lowrencev
Micaëla Stacey Alleaume

Adrian Tamburini

Dancairo Luke Gabbedy
Remendado Benjamin Rasheed
Moralès Christopher Hillier
Frasquita Jane Ede
Mercédès Sian Pendry

Opera Australia Chorus

Orchestra Victoria

Running time: approximately 3 hours, including one 20-minute interval.

Production Partner


Allow us to make your dinner reservation: 6pm at Café Vic. You'll be served a themed three-course set menu for just $75, including matched wine.

Simply add dinner to your cart after selecting your tickets.


Istra prosciutto, grilled winter pears, bergamot-dressed fennel with pomegranate
a glass of sparkling wine on arrival


Slow-cooked Andalusian-style lamb shoulder, broad beans, roasted beets, grilled pumpkin, potato crisp
+ a glass of pinot noir


Churros, with cinnamon chocolate sauce, berry compote
+ tea or coffee

Specific dietary requirements can be accommodated, please send us an email after booking.

Published menu is subject to change without notice.
The StoryHide

Small-town boy Don José is serving with the army far from home. His fellow soldiers are captivated by an alluring woman, Carmen. He thinks only of home, his mother, and the pretty Micaëla, a young girl who comes to deliver a letter from home.

Carmen is intrigued by the shy Don José. Arrested for beginning a fight, Carmen seduces Don José to win her freedom — and convinces him to desert the army to join her in an outlaw's life of liberty.

But her wandering eye has already found another lover: the dashing bullfighter, Escamillo. Don José's jealousy is fierce, Escamillo's passion is determined, Carmen’s fate is set in the cards…

Not afraid of spoilers? Read the full synopsis.

"The gains made in Opera Australia’s new production should last as long as the blaze of colour in its makeup. "

Herald Sun

"I’ve seen innumerable productions over the years, and this was one of the best."

Stage Whispers

"Rinat Shaham’s vocally and dramatically compelling performance...will delight jaded aficionados and wow opera novices.."


"This is a powerful production of Carmen, filled with strong voices and compelling stage chemistry."

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