Carmen Essay

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CARMEN ESSAY – musical examples/more quotes/cut out heaps of writing!! INTRO and Conclusion

The fascination with exoticism was more and more prevalent within romantic compositions as there was an increased yearning for far off lands within the composer's imagination. ‘Composers of such works were not terribly interested in authenticity; their primary concern was to create a picturesque atmosphere that would appeal to audiences.'(Machlis p.190) Bizet romanticized gypsy culture in his opera and through the character, ‘Carmen'. The libretto gives off ideas in relation to the emerging theme of ‘naturalism', where much focus was given to the working class and their suffering. Carmen and the other gypsies don't have that middle class virtue. ‘But they are seen against the exotic allure of Spain and Bizet's music invests them with a human dignity.' (Machlis192) In much of the art, music and literature of the 19th century the female gypsy, in particular was characterized and stereotyped as free-spirited, strong, deviant, demanding, sexually arousing, alluring and dismissive. This romantic construct of the Gypsy woman may be viewed as completely opposite to the proper, controlled and chaste, submissive woman held as the Victorian, European ideal. These descriptions are likened to the characters of Carmen in contrast to Micaela. ‘Carmen' is all about women, especially women with exotic qualities who challenge the traditional morale. The women in ‘Carmen' are seen not as passive but as active players in the social game. Carmen forever sings about freedom and love with no limits. ‘The freedom to travel, the freedom to exist – Carmen fights for the right to live.'(Feminist endings) The oriental fascination with the forbidden and taboo world of the gypsy other in music is characterized by the spontaneous dance-like rhythms, melodies and orchestration. Carmen's most famous aria, ‘Habanera' in which she tells of her conception of love, is a borrowed Cuban dance form, from...
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