Carmen Composed By Georges Bizet Essay

1935 words - 8 pages

Carmen Composed by Georges Bizet


Georges Bizet (1838-1875) composed the opera Carmen, it opened on March 3, 1875 at the Opera Comique in Paris. It was not a success, initially. Then again, Carmen would soon become the most popular opera of all time. The entire work however, was disapproved of for its harsh libretto, and the music was criticized. The reception of Carmen left Bizet acutely depressed and on June 3, 1875 he suffered from two heart attacks and died.
Carmen opens with a Prelude in ternary form (ABACA) in which it opens the stage action with a faint motif. Act I starts off in a square in Seville which contains a cigarette factory and a guard station. The square is filled of people and the soldiers watch with interest as the peasant girl Micaela enters the square. Micaela is introduced by a light accompaniment and chromatic scales. She is looking for Corporal Don Jose which she has a letter from his mother. Here Micaela meets Sergeant Morales who tells her that Don Jose was in another company. Morales offers to keep her company while she waits for the other company to arrive but she declines and runs away. A trumpet sounds, which signals the changing of the guards. During the changing of the company a chorus of street boys sing. The boys go into formation like the soldiers that they are pretending to be. The boys add to the reality of the times at which the boys would pick pocket and cause mischief. Don Jose enters. He meets with Lieutenant Zuniga and hints to Jose that the girls who work in the cigarette factory will be arriving after lunch. Jose proclaims that the only one he loves is Micaela. Hereafter, a bell rings and the factory girls arrive in the square, Jose is not interested in their seductive song. It is after the girls’ song that the crowd asks for “La Carmencita”. Carmen enters with the same music that is in the Prelude. The vitality of Carmen herself is remarkable, the music involves the use of the harmonic, rhythmic instrumental measures of Spanish dance music. Also the death theme of the chromatic scales and augmented 2nds enhance to Carmen’s later fate. She sings the Habanera, which is a mixture of sensual music, an oral warning to all. “Beware of me if I give you my heart” and she sings about the fickleness of love. Don Jose is very uninterested in Carmen’s song. Carmen becomes quite fascinated and throws a flower at Jose. Carmen then leaves to go into the cigarette factory. Jose decides to pick up the flower and Micaela returns with money and a letter from his mother. The letter urges that Jose marry Micaela. In this scene between Don Jose and Micaela there is an interruption in the mood and music. Here a chromatic downward scale in the music starts and where Jose starts singing of an “evil spirit” which is we assume represents Carmen. Micaela leaves Jose and there is a sudden accident at the cigarette factory. Zuniga sends Jose to oversee what had happened. Jose comes...

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