• (c) C.M. Falsini

Carmen: Caracalla 2022

Rome, Baths of Caracalla — Main Hall

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About the Event

Experience an open air opera like never before in this astonishing performance of Bizet's Carmen at Rome's remarkable Baths of Caracalla.

Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy
based on a novella of the same title by Prosper Mérimée

The Baths of Caracalla are ancient baths in Rome and among the largest thermal baths in the Eternal City.
The construction of the Caracalla baths probably started in 206 under Septimius Severus and was completed in 216 under Emperor Caracalla. Further extensions, such as arcades and decorations, were carried out under the emperors Elagabal and Severus Alexander, so that the complex was not really completed until 235 AD. Together with the Diocletian Baths it belonged to the public and free bathing palaces.
In 537 the Ostrogoths destroyed the water pipe during the siege of Rome, which stopped the bathing activities. Nevertheless, they were regarded as the best preserved thermal baths until the Renaissance.
In 1824 systematic excavations began under Count Girolamo Egidio di Velo, who found the mosaic with the athletes. Nowadays the Rome Opera hosts open‐air opera performances here.

Carmen is an opera in four acts by the French composer Georges Bizet, based on Prosper Merimee’s novella of the same name. Written in the opera comique tradition, musical movements are interrupted by spoken dialogue. When it premiered at the Opera‐Comique in 1875, this groundbreaking opera shocked a public unready for its realism, and unused to seeing the lives of the lower classes being shown on stage. However, within ten years the tragic and passionate 'Carmen' had taken its place at the centre of the operatic canon, forming a bridge between opera comique and the fast‐emerging verismo style.

Georges Bizet
Georges Bizet devoted his relatively short life of 36 years to the musical theatre. The opera Carmen, pearl of his oeuvre, is still one of the most frequently performed operas in the world. He was born in 1838 into a musically educated family – his father was a singing teacher and his mother a professional piano player. At the age of 4, young George could already read notes and play the piano, and six years later he became enrolled at the Paris Conservatory. After finishing his studies, Bizet won the prestigious Prix de Rome for his cantata Clovis et Clotilde, that allowed him to work solely on his own compositions for five years. He spent four rather carefree years in Italy from 1857 to 1860 where he travelled, composed and developed his talent. After coming back to Paris, he faced struggles and found it very difficult to achieve recognition for his music. In order to make a living, he gave private lessons, composed light entertaining music and made arrangements of piano works by other composers. In fact, he could have easily become a successful pianist as he was a virtuoso piano player and once impressed Franz Liszt himself with the performance of one of Liszt’s piano compositions. But Georges Bizet did not look for a way to make easy money and was adamant about his intention to only compose music.

In 1872 he wrote two operas, Djamileh and L’Arlesienne, which were received very coldly but now are considered to be a representation of Bizet’s artistic maturity. Soon before his death in 1875, Carmen premiered in the Opera Comique, but the audience’s verdict was rather negative. Never having witnessed public acclaim during his life, George Bizet now is one of the most famous opera composers in history.

Practical Information

sung in French with italian and english surtitles


  • Bizet, Georges – Carmen
Program is subject to change

Cast / Production

Conductor __Jordi Bernàcer__
Director __Valentina Carrasco__
Chorus Master __Roberto Gabbiani__
Set Designer __Samal Blak__
Costume Designer __Luis F . Carvalho__
Choreographer __Erika Rombaldoni e Massimiliano Volpini__
Lighting Designer __Peter Van Praet__

Carmen __Veronica Simeoni__
Don José __Saimir Pirgu__
Escamillo __Luca Micheletti__
Micaëla __Mariangela Sicilia / Agnieszka Jadwiga Grochala*__
Frasquita __Giulia Mazzola__
Mercedes __Anna Pennisi__
Dancairo __Michele Patti__
Remendado __Marcello Nardis__
Zuniga __Alessandro Della Morte*__
Morales __Arturo Espinosa*__

*after the Project “fabbrica” Young Artist Program of the Teatro dell’opera di Roma

__Teatro dell’opera di Roma Orchestra, Chorus and Corps de Ballet
With the Partecipation of the Teatro dell’opera di Roma Scuola di Canto Corale


Baths of Caracalla, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, Rome, Italy — Google Maps

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