Flamenco and the ‘Hispanicisation’ of Bizet’s Carmen in the Belle Epoque
AuthorChristoforidis, M; Kertesz, E
EditorLangham Smith, R; Rowden, C
Source TitleCarmen Abroad: Bizet's Opera on the Global Stage
PublisherCambridge University Press
AffiliationMelbourne Conservatorium of Music
CitationsChristoforidis, M. & Kertesz, E. (2020). Flamenco and the ‘Hispanicisation’ of Bizet’s Carmen in the Belle Epoque. Langham Smith, R (Ed.). Rowden, C (Ed.). Carmen Abroad: Bizet's Opera on the Global Stage, (1), pp.304-319. Cambridge University Press.
Access StatusOpen Access
For over a century, flamenco has been closely associated with productions of Carmen around the world. Bizet’s gypsy protagonist is often depicted as a flamenco performer while it has become commonplace to perceive aspects of flamenco in Bizet’s score. Yet this nexus only developed gradually during the first three decades of the opera’s existence. Bizet was largely unfamiliar with flamenco and composed Carmen while flamenco as we recognise it today was still coalescing in Spain, especially in the flamenco-orientated cafés cantantes of Seville and Madrid. During the Belle Époque the rise of flamenco and its global recognition occurred almost in tandem with Carmen’s establishment in the international operatic repertory. French and Spanish opera singers of this period, from Emma Calvé to Elena Fons and Maria Gay, sought hispanic authenticity for their Carmens by drawing on the Spanish entertainment cultures of Seville, Granada and even Barcelona. The tripartite structure of this chapter employs the conceit of offering different perspectives on the intersection of Carmen and flamenco in the Belle Époque loosely framed around the basic elements of the artform: toque y palos, baile and cante.
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