Carmen! Spirited and brave, she is used to dominating over everyone. A meeting with the dragoon, José, awakens her passion. The gypsy’s charms are powerful, and Jose’s heart is conquered, but Carmen is pining for something new: the Torero. José does not want to believe that her love for him is gone. But Carmen is implacable; their relationship is over. Carmen’s fate, same as Torero’s and the bulls’, is always hanging between life and death. Carmen’s yearning for freedom of thought and action leads her to conflict, and to tragedy. One cannot be commanded by passion among the people who do not follow the logic of their feelings. The proud Carmen proves her freedom with her death.
Maya Plisetskaya turned 39 in 1964. She was the leading ballerina of the Bolshoi Theatre, People's Artist of the USSR and the wife of the outstanding composer Rodion Shchedrin. Maya danced lead roles in such famous ballets as Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Giselle and Raymonda. However, the talented and full of energy artist wanted more, namely, she dreamed of embodying the heroine on stage, which she had been dreaming of since the beginning of her stage career. Carmen - it was this image that haunted Plisetskaya to such an extent that she herself, based on the short story by Mérimée and the opera by Bizet, began to compose the libretto of the ballet.
Several years have passed and the ballerina's dream would have remained a dream if it were not for a happy accident that brought the Cuban ballet led by the famous choreographer Alberto Alonso to Moscow on tour. After visiting the performance of the guests and seeing their choreography, Maya realized that this was exactly what she had dreamed of for many years. Without hesitation for a long time, Plisetskaya turned to Alonso with a request to stage the one-act ballet Carmen for her.
Shchedrin made a free virtuoso arrangement of music from the opera "Carmen" and "Arlesian" in a very short time. Only twenty days and the transcription, designed for strings and percussion instruments, was ready.
The stage life of the ballet "Carmen Suite" began very difficult, but today it is staged and performed all over the world. "Carmen" did not die, as ill-wishers predicted, but with each new production it takes on a new life and a new look.