An Analysis Of An Opera By Georges Bizet

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Carmen is an opera by Georges Bizet that adeptly portrays the story of the same title by Prosper Mérimée. It is most well known for its two arias, Habanera and the Toreador Song. Through the music, Bizet conveys many feelings through the portrayal the common man rather than the aristocrats, which was revolutionary in the operatic world. Despite being composed in the Romantic era, the subject matter of the opera is more similar to the Realist movement of the 19th century. Since the beginning of his life, Bizet “showed precocious ability in music and at the age of 10 was admitted to the [Paris Conservatory of Music]” (“Georges Bizet”). He continued to refine his musical talent and ended up winning the Prix de Rome, which allowed him to spend …show more content…

The use of chromaticism in his music demonstrates mastery of compositional techniques. Besides this, Bizet’s dedication to learning all the techniques of Spanish music is incredible. According to one source, “Bizet had gone to some lengths to familiarize himself with the musical sounds and forms of the region in which Carmen is set, and several of the best-known portions use rhythms he learned from those studies” (Schwarm). This dedication allowed Bizet to master the Spanish Habanera dance despite never having gone to Spain, helping to make it one of the most well-known pieces in operatic history. His mastery of musical techniques and his dedication to his music allowed him to compose Carmen and refine it into a masterpiece. In addition to the imaginative techniques, the plot of Carmen is revolutionary. Unlike other operas of its time, it focuses on the lower class. Carmen is known for “its defiantly sexual leading female character” and its “non-heroic portrayal of a wide slice of society” (“Bizet, Georges”). As well as this, the undeniable realism of the portrayal of the gypsies, smugglers, and factory workers was not well received (Schwarm). This innovation, although originally not well received, helped it become one of the five most performed operas in the world. Because opera in that time generally tendered to the nobility and the sophisticated, having the focus being on the lower class did not end up well.

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