By Georges Bizet
Fiery and tempestuous, the character of Carmen has captivated the world’s imagination for more than a century and a half. The passionate and untamed gypsy was first introduced in Prosper Mérimée’s 1845 novella and became immortal through Bizet’s opera 30 years later.
Carmen was originally written for the Opéra Comique in Paris and is a bridge between the more conservative French tradition and the verismo style that became popular in late-19th century Italy. After decades where opera was dominated by the Romantic movement—in which idealism and sentiment were the aesthetic order of the day—verismo opera probed the passions of human existence through more realistic expression, reflecting life as it is lived, including all its sordidness and violence.