Don José

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(Bizet: Carmen). Ten. A corporal in the dragoons. He sees Carmen when she emerges from the cigarette factory in which she works. She flirts with him and throws him a flower. Micaëla comes to see José, bringing him a letter from his mother suggesting her as a wife for him. As he starts to show interest, Carmen reappears. She has been in a fight and hurt another girl and José is ordered to escort her to gaol. He is unable to resist her when she suggests they could be lovers, and allows her to escape. He is imprisoned for his carelessness, and when released seeks out Carmen in Lillas Pastia's tavern. As they dance, he tells her he must return to barracks and Carmen is angry, wanting him to stay with her. José is jealous when his superior officer shows an interest in Carmen and strikes him. Now he has no option but to desert and go with Carmen and her band of smugglers into the mountains. There Micaëla again finds him, and tells him his old mother is dying. He leaves with her, but not before he has a fight with the toreador Escamillo, who is also in love with Carmen. José later follows them to the bullring. When Carmen tells him she no longer loves him, he kills her. Aria: La fleur que tu m'avais jetée (‘The flower which you threw me’—known as the Flower Song). As with the title‐role, French singers have not been to the fore in this role, which is usually sung by an Italianate tenor, such as Beniamino Gigli, Fernando De Lucia, Giuseppe di Stefano, Mario del Monaco, Nicolai Gedda, Franco Corelli, Jon Vickers, James McCracken, Dennis O'Neill, Luis Lima, Plácido Domingo, and José Carreras. Created (1875) by Paul Lhérie.

Subjects: Opera.

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