If You Hear These Popular Carmen Opera Songs –Will You Recognize Them?

Carmen opera songs and the Carmen opera story have been used in commercials, films and musicals. A Carmen synopsis often highlights the provocative and passionate. Carmen opera lyrics are included in many voice lessons and vocal lessons for young opera singers.

But, it is the Carmen music and in particular, the opera Carmen Habanera, that is instantly recognized by audiences from among the many names of operas. This famous Bizet opera is a favourite among opera lovers. In the opera tradition, the French Georges Bizet Carmen opera eclipses many Italian operas.


Read to Discover Carmen Opera Songs


Carmen’s Gypsy Opera Song

It is the beginning of Act II of the opera Carmen and immediately we are introduced to one of the best opera songs. The local smugglers have come into town for some rest and relaxation. The smugglers are at a tavern in the suburbs of Seville known as Lillas Pastia. Some of the local gypsy girls are dancing. Suddenly Carmen begins to sing what is often referred to as The Gypsy Song.

During The Gypsy Song Carmen’s friends – Mercedes and Frasquita – join her in the Tra-la-la-la refrain.

Carmen’s Gypsy Opera Song
Carmen’s Gypsy Opera Song


Escamillo’s Toreador

Immediately following Carmen’s Gypsy Song (see above), the smugglers prepare to return to their mountain hide-out. At this point, Escamillo, a young bullfighter who has just accomplished a victory in a bullfight, enters. Escamillo spots Carmen from among the many young women and attempts to gain her attention. As Escamillo sings the famous Toreador Song, he relates the dangers and glory of the bullring.

The music of the famous Toreador opera song, which Escamillo performs in Act II, is heard once again in Act IV – this time performed with choir.

Toreador Song from the Opera Carmen
Toreador Song from the Opera Carmen


The Most Famous of Carmen Opera songs – The Habanera

One of the most recognized opera songs from the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet (1838-1875) is known as the Habanera. It is performed by Carmen in Act I of the opera.

In the opera music video clip above, Iryna Zhytynska (a new window will open), a young opera singer, performs the provocative Carmen aria Habanera at an open air concert in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine on May 7, 2009 on the occasion of the city’s 347th anniversary. The INSO Orchestra is conducted by Myron Yusypovych .

Quand je vous aimerai? When will I love you?
Ma foi, je ne sais pas, Honestly – I don’t know.
Peut-être jamais, peut-être demain. Maybe never, maybe tomorrow.
Mais pas aujourd'hui, c'est certain. But not today, that’s for sure.
L'amour est un oiseau rebelle Love is a rebellious bird
Que nul ne peut apprivoiser, That no one can tame,
Et ç'est bien en vain qu'on l'appelle, And, it is in vain that it is hailed,
š'il lui convient de refuser. If it is appropriate for it to refuse.
Rien n'y fait, menace ou prière, Neither threatening nor appealing will impact,
L'un parle bien, l'autre se tait; For one speaks well, the other is restrained;
Et c'est l'autre que je préfère But it is the latter that I prefer
Il n'a rien dit; mais il me plaît. For it is silent; but I favour it.
L'amour! l'amour! l'amour! l'amour! Love! Love! Love! Love!
L'amour est enfant de bohème, Love is a Bohemian child,
Il n'a jamais, jamais connu de loi, Who has never played by the rules,
Si tu ne m'aime pas, je t'aime, If you don’t love me, I will nevertheless love you,
Si je t'aime, prend garde à toi! But if I love you – take care!
Si tu ne m'aime pas, If you don’t love me,
Si tu ne m'aime pas, je t'aime! If you don’t love me, I will nevertheless love you,
Mais, si je t'aime, But, if I love you,
Si je t'aime, prend garde à toi! If I love you – take care!
Si tu ne m'aime pas, If you don’t love me,
Si tu ne m'aime pas, je t'aime! If you don’t love me, I will nevertheless love you,
Mais, si je t'aime, But, if I love you,
Si je t'aime, prend garde à toi! If I love you – take care!
L'oiseau que tu croyais surprendre The bird that you thought you could catch
Battit de l'aile et s'envola; Flapped its wings and flew away;
L'amour est loin, tu peux l'attendre; Love is far away, you need to wait for it;
Tu ne l'attend plus, il est là! When you don’t expect it, it appears!
Tout autour de toi vite, vite, All around you quickly, quickly,
Il vient, s'en va, puis il revient! It comes, it goes and it returns!
Tu crois le tenir, il t'évite; You think you’ve got it, it avoids you;
Tu crois l'éviter, il te tient! You think you’re avoiding it, it holds on!
L'amour, l'amour, l'amour, l'amour! Love! Love! Love! Love!
L'amour est enfant de bohème… Love is a Bohemian child…

The Carmen opera song lyrics to Habanera are provided for you in English translation done specifically for this website. Enjoy!

Originally composed by the Basque composer** Sebastián Yradier** (1809-1865) as “El Arreglito”,

This is the first ‘air’ of the opera, and one of the best known, though, strangely enough, Bizet did not write its music. He selected it, a typical Spanish tune, from Yradier’s “Album des Chanson Espagnoles”. The rather slow, seductive tempo, the dreamily sensuous melody, are most aptly placed; the refrain is particularly fascinating.
Holland-Rous, Samuel. (1924). 7th Edition. The Victrola Book of the Opera. p.62

And, yes – this is the opera song that was remade by Pepsi for its commercial in 2009 and performed by Beyonce (a new window will open).


Don José’s Flower Song in the Opera Carmen

In Act II of the opera Carmen, another one of the well known opera songs known as The Flower Song is performed.

In Act I, Carmen is arrested and subsequently freed by Don José, a young dragoon (a cavalry petty-officer). Don José is jailed for letting Carmen escape.

In Act II, Don José is once again a free man. He rejoins Carmen. However, matters don’t go well because Carmen wants Don José to join the smugglers, whereas Don José finds the idea distasteful. To convince Carmen of his true love, Don José sings The Flower Song. During the opera song, Don José recounts how the flower that Carmen had thrown him in Act I, kept up his spirits during the many weeks of his prison incarceration.

The Flower Song in Carmen
The Flower Song in Carmen


Micaëlas’ Famous Soprano Aria from the Opera Carmen

Micaëla sings a beautiful soprano opera song.

Micaëla is the spurned love in the opera Carmen. In most operas, the main heroine who wins the lover is a soprano. In opera, the mezzo soprano is usually given the role of the scorned lover or the tenor’s nemesis. Not so in the opera Carmen! Could this be part of the opera’s charm and reason for success?

In the opera Carmen, the heroine (Carmen) is a mezzo soprano and the soprano (Micaëla) is the one who has been spurned.

In Act III, Don José has joined the smugglers in the mountains. Micaëla comes to the mountains at Don José’s mother’s request. Micaëla’s mission is to get Don José to return the village and his dying mother.

In the soprano aria Je dis que rien m’épouvante, Micaëla attempts to convince herself that she is not frightened of the dark and black hills surrounding her. Overcoming her jealousy of Carmen is not easy. Micaëla considers Carmen to be an evil woman. Micaëla asks God to give her courage and to help her complete her mission.

Soprano Aria in Carmen the Opera
Soprano Aria in Carmen the Opera

Five famous opera songs from the French opera Carmen by Georges Bizet (1838-1875) have contributed to making this opera famous and popular among opera lovers around the world – notwithstanding, that it is not an Italian opera.

Text by: Oksana A. Wynnyckyj-Yusypovych


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