Carmen


Carmen is a French comedic opera written by Georges Bizet in 1875. Bizet based his story on a novel of the same name by Prosper Merimee. The story is about a flamenco dancing gypsy named Carmen who isn't exactly the most faithful girlfriend in the world.

The opera opens in Seville, Spain with Don Jose, an inexperienced soldier, longing to return home and marry his girlfriend. Don Jose is soon assigned to guard Carmen, who has been arrested for injuring another woman in a fight. Carmen attempts to escape by flirting with Don Jose, and soon after Jose is demoted and imprisoned for allowing Carmen to escape. While in prison, Jose thinks of nothing but Carmen, which is cool, because she's thinking of nothing but him.

When Jose is released from prison, he finds Carmen, but it's sort of bad timing, because Carmen is discussing business with some criminals. The smugglers are trying to convince Carmen to leave with them, but she professes her love for Jose and won't leave. Jose shows up, and refuses to join the smugglers, but when other soldiers show up to arrest the gypsy smugglers, Jose draws his sword on his superior officer and runs off to protect Carmen.

This all sounds great and romantic, except for the part about Carmen not being a good girlfriend. She's pretty much forced Jose to turn his whole life upside-down for her, but soon she grows tired of him and starts dating Escamillo, a matador. Jose doesn't take rejection too well, so soon there's the fighting and killing that's made this opera so successful.

Carmen premiered in Paris on March 3, 1875, and didn't go very well. Critics hated it, and audiences didn't understand it -there were curtian calls after the first scene and the audience clapped at the wrong times. However, later that year it was produced again in Austria where it became a huge hit. Today it is one of the most popular comic operas of all time. Unfortunately, Georges Bizet would never see how successful his work would become, he passed away in June of 1875 thinking Carmen was a failure.