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Georges Bizet/arr. by Robert Olisar
Carmen Suite The opera Carmen is based on a novel about a fiery gypsy girl who works in a tobacco factory in Spain. The tale in four acts combines sexual passion, violence, dancing, seduction, smuggling, love, jealousy, bullfighting and ultimately murder. This suite for band contains six movements.
Composer Georges Bizet (1838-1875) was born in Paris to musical parents who taught him musical fundamentals from infancy. He entered the Paris Conservatory at age 9 and at 19 won the coveted Prix de Rome for composition. He seemed destined for a brilliant career but his next works were received cool- ly and he made a living as an arranger and piano teacher. He enlisted in the National Guard of France in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War. Bizet was commissioned to compose the opera in 1875.
Despite the vitality, rich color, abundant and varied melody and masterly orches- tration, the opera was severely criticized at its premiere. Its libretto, featuring a tale of moral laxity and a melange of gypsies, prostitutes, murderers and thieves, offended the contemporary French middle class. Bizet considered his work a flop. Acutely depressed, he fell ill from quinsy (an acute throat infection) and two heart attacks and died. Within a year, Carmen was staged again and went on to win acclaim as one of the greatest French operas of the nineteenth century.
Last updated on January 1, 2013 by Palatine Concert Band