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Bizet in Seville

The series about historical places of opera art. Get to know exciting excursion and travel ideas for opera lovers. This time: Bizet in Seville


All Destinations on google maps with links to detailed Blogposts:




Bizet in Seville

Sergej Prokofiev:

Bizet set an immortal monument to the city of Seville with his “Carmen”, but he himself never visited Seville!

He and his librettists shortened the plot of Merimée’s novel somewhat and moved parts of the action from Cordoba to Seville, so that the settings of the opera and the novel partly do not coincide. In Seville, one can easily trace two and a half settings of the opera.





Destination Tobacco factory (Real Fábrica de Tabacos de Sevilla)

The building can still be admired in its splendor, nowadays it houses the University of Seville. It is said to be the largest building in Spain after the Escorial.
This gigantic complex was built in the 18th century and provided jobs for up to 10,000 workers and several hundred donkeys, that moved the mills to grind the leaves. Carmen is a gypsy and works in the tobacco factory and is even said to be able to roll a cigar with her thighs! During a break at work she meets the soldier Don José, who shortly after arrests her. In fact, there was a prison on the premises, because tobacco smuggling was very lucrative and the women workers were sharply controlled.

The old tobacco factory:

Universita Tobacco factory Sevilla Bizet Carmen Travel Reisen Culture opera Tourism



Destination Plaza de Toros (Bullfight arena)

Seville’s bullring is the most magnificent in Andalusia. This is where Escamillo plies his trade. In front of the square, Don José meets Carmen there in the fourth act and stabs her in the square. You will find in the square a statue of a toreador, roughly how we imagine Don Escamillo. You also find a small museum that describes the world of the toreadors. In this square also takes place the beginning of the Fourth Act, the “Cuadrilla” the spectacular entry of the Toreadores.

A bit off the river at the Paseo Alcalde Marqes de Contadero you can also find a statue of Carmen built in the year1973.

Plaza de Toros:

Plaza de toros Sevilla Bizet Carmen Travel Reisen Culture opera Tourism



(No?) Destination Taverne des Lillas Pastia

Carmen meets Don José in the second act in the smugglers’ tavern of Lillas Pastia. Where this fictional smugglers’ tavern is located is debatable. Merimée mentions that the tavern is in Carmen’s residential neighborhood of Triana on the other side of the river, while Bizet’s famous “Près de remparts de Séville” describes it as being by the walls of Seville. Anyway, the City Council has hung a plaque in Calle Maria de Padilla.

View on Triana across the river Guadalquivir:



Musical background: The flamenco in the “Carmen’s” Prelude

Bizet takes up the theme of bullfighting in the Prélude. In the two corner sections he uses a “Paso Doble”. This march-like piece of music traditionally accompanied corridas. The dance variant of the “Paso Doble”, which is ornamented with flamenco elements, imitates the movement of the torero. The man imitates the bullfighter and the woman the capa (the bullfighter’s scarf). In the middle part we hear the famous theme Escamillos.

Prélude of “Carmen”:




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