Bizet: “Habanera” from the Opera “Carmen”: Transcribed For Cello

Here is the sheet music for Bizet’s famous aria “Habanera” from his opera “Carmen” (1875) in a transcription for cello.

Bizet died very shortly after the dismal failure of the first performance of his opera “Carmen”. The conductor had been drunk, the rehearsals had been insufficient, and the social content of the opera was judged scandalous and disgraceful by public and critics alike. It is not difficult to understand Bizet’s feelings at the time. But what an enormously unnecessary tragedy it was that he didn’t survive his disappointment and was thus unable to live in the glory of what is considered nowadays one of the best-loved operas – and greatest pieces of music – of all time.

In this version, we play the aria twice, first in the lower octave as though it were sung by a tenor, and then in the higher soprano octave. The Easier Version stays always in the lower octave and doesn’t go any higher than the mid-string harmonic.

  1. Edited Performance Version
  2.   Clean Performance Version
  3.   Easier Version
  4.  Piano Score

A play-along audio of the piano accompaniment can be found here below. If we actually download it then we can play it at different tempi with the wonderfully useful and simple Amazing Slowdowner program:


By clicking here a Youtube video recording of this cello transcription can be seen.