California Opera’s 20th annual summer opera festival finale features Carmen, the wild Spanish gypsy, who is unscrupulous in matters of the law and of the heart. Set in the 1830s in Seville, Spain, Carmen seduces Don José who is arrested for breach of duty. A month later, a famous bullfighter, Escamillo, flirts with Carmen, who rebuffs him because she is waiting for José to be released from jail. When José arrives, Carmen rewards him, but in defense of her, attacks a superior officer and has no choice but to run away with Carmen to the mountains. Carmen grows bored with José and advises him to go home to his mother, then Escamillo invites everyone to his next bullfight. Carmen is on Escamillo's arm, as José is outside the arena. José begs Carmen to come away with him, but she refuses, saying that she was born free and will die free. In a jealous rage, José takes matters into his own hands while the crowd inside the arena cheers Escamillo to victory.