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Suitable for ages 11-14 Time guideline: 30 minutes

Welcome to Seville – a scorchingly hot, dry and dusty city in southern Spain, and the setting for one of the most famous operas ever written: Carmen. Carmen tells the fateful tale of a beautiful and free-spirited gypsy named Carmen and the two men she falls in love with: Don José (a soldier) and Escamillo (a famous bullfighter). In addition to the three characters trapped in this love triangle, there’s another shadowy figure who plays an important role in the story – Fate.

The Forces of Fate

The forces of Fate are felt throughout this opera, and one of the first musical themes we hear at the beginning is the ‘Fate’ theme.

In opera, a musical theme (sometimes called a motif) is a short musical idea which a composer uses to describe a character, object, place or feeling. By composing a musical theme for an individual character, the composer can bring that character into the audience’s mind, even when they aren’t on stage. Let’s listen to the fate theme from Carmen:

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