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The Royal Opera House

Opera Guide: Carmen

Carmen is one of the most enduringly popular of all operas, and the most successful of Georges Bizet’s works. Following its premiere at the Opéra-Comique in Paris in 1875, it has gone on to be performed at all the major opera houses in the world. With its searing depictions of passion, obsession and jealousy, it has never lost its hold on the opera-going public.

In this guide, Richard Langham Smith explores the development of the opera from Prosper Mérimée's novella and includes a detailed discussion of its music. Lesley A. Wright places Carmen in the context of its challenge to the prevailing traditions of the Opéra-Comique in Paris, and George Hall examines the opera's extensive performance history and the developing interpretations that singers and directors have brought to it. Gary Kahn gives examples of some of the many distinguished admirers that the work attracted from its very earliest performances.

The guide contains a complete version of the French libretto (including the rarely performed Scène de l’Anglais) and an english translation, both prepared Richard Langham Smith, featuring the full dialogue as well as the recitatives added later. There are also 36 illustrations, a musical thematic guide, a discography, bibliography, DVD and website guides. This is the most comprehensive resource available to readers who wish to explore and better understand this fascinating work.

Overture Opera Guide
Composer: Georges Bizet
Opera: Carmen
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 376
Size: 13x19.5x3 cm