Not since Cleopatra has there been a femme fatale so complex and compelling as Carmen, the promiscuous gypsy with an unconquerable will. Bizet's masterpiece pits his muse against poverty, racism, and a swarm of wretched suitors—the most dogged of whom, a soldier named Don Josè, grapples with freedom and finds the burden too cumbersome to bear. The Met's new production of this perennially beloved opera debuts on New Year's Eve, with the ravishing Elina Garanča in the title role.
Thu., Dec. 31, 6:30 p.m., 2009

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