This September, one of the world’s most famous operas came to Dubai. Opera Carmen has everything you want from an opera: high drama, passionate characters, a love story. And what’s more it’s absolutely packed with great melodies – even if you don’t know the opera, you’ll definitely know the tunes.
Carmen, the story of Don José and his hopeless love for the titular character, were here for three nights in September. Carmen is a tragic tale, with a tragic real-life story to boot.
Written by French composer Georges Bizet in 1875, Carmen premiered in Paris to negative review and swathes of disapproval from his peers. Bizet died during the show’s preliminary performances, and would never come to learn of Carmen’s global fame.
Carmen, as created by Bizet, has become the stereotypical Spanish woman of the 19th century in the popular imagination. She’s hedonistic, impetuous, hot-tempered and cold-hearted. She’s lovestruck and a femme fatale at the same time.
It’s ironic, then, that this quintessential Spanish woman… was created by a Frenchman. Not only that, Bizet’s opera was actually based on a story by another Frenchman – Prosper Mérimée.
But wherever she came from, Carmen has become one of history’s most iconic opera characters. She may die at the end of the opera, but she lives on way beyond her few hours on stage to become part of our cultural landscape.