Carmen – the music works no matter what you do to it.


The French soprano Emma Calvé (1858-1942) as Carmen

The last of these 1875 hit tunes blogs comes from Bizet’s Carmen. It is probably true that everyone, certainly in the Western hemisphere has heard of this opera whether they like opera or not – they will also know its most famous tunes too. Of all the composers who were writing in 1875, the most poignantly tragic was Georges Bizet who struggled to make his living as a composer and only triumphed with this his greatest work in the year of its composition, 1875, but not until after his premature death from heart disease.

Georges Bizet (1838-1875)

The operatic heroine, the gypsy girl with a big heart and even bigger sex appeal, has been played by many great singers and actresses but it has also been a rewarding part for great ballerinas too. Here is the choreographer Roland Petit’s carmen ballet with the brilliantly cast Alessandra Ferri as Carmen and Laurent Hilaire as Don José. I am not an expert on classical ballet but I hope, like me, you have enjoyed the ones I’ve been playing this week – all inspired by music written in 1875. If you didn’t like the dancing then at least I’ve given you something to whistle.

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