Bizet's Carmen and its early versions.
Merrill, Nathaniel Chase
MetadataShow full item record
Through a strange set of historical coincidences Bizet's masterpiece of French opera-comique has not been printed or performed in the original version since its premiere in Paris in 1875. Conceived as a dialogue opera, Carmen was only partially acclaimed by French critics and public. The moral objections to Merrimee's gypsy tale discouraged patrons of the Opera-Comique, for many years a traditional place for arranging marriages between the sons and daughters of well-to-do French families. Bizet was assailed by crys of 'Wagnerism' in the local press. Opposition from the theater manager, M. Camille du Locle, and from the members of the company was encountered from the outset. Singers and orchestra complained about the technical impossibility of the music; the librettists urged Bizet to eliminate any coarseness from Galli-Marie's interpretation of the title role; and the management pleaded with him to shorten the musical numbers and provide places where audience applause might soften the moral impact of the work. As a result of these pressures nearly 40 musical sections totalling over 600 bars were cut from Carmen during 1874 and 1875. While the Autograph reveals many (but not all) of these deletions in Bizet's handwriting, careful analysis shows that often they were forced upon the composer by conditions mentioned above and were therefore against his wishes. An attempt should be made to restore such music, based both on the worth of the individual sections and the importance played by them in the opera as a whole. The Guiraud revision of Carmen continues to be played with undiminishing popularity in every major opera house outside of France (only in comparatively recent times have all the recitatives been performed at the Opera-Comique). The dialogue version was not given outside of France until the 1920's in Germany, and is still rarely heard. The authentic version of this greatest French operatic masterpiece has remained unknown until now. [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (M.A.)--Boston University N.B.:Missing page 175. No copy 2.N.B.: No copy 2.