Georges Bizet: Carmen / Edition 1

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Bizet's Carmen is probably the best known opera of the standard repertoire, yet its very familiarity often prevents us from approaching it with the seriousness it deserves. This Handbook explores the opera in a number of contexts, bringing to the surface the controversies over gender, race, class and musical propriety. After a study of Mérimée's story Carmen by Peter Robinson, Susan McClary examines the social tensions in nineteenth-century France that inform both that story and the opera, and traces the opera through its genesis and reception. The Handbook concludes with discussions of four films based on the opera. The volume contains a bibliography, music examples, and a synopsis and will be of interest to students, scholars, and operagoers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The book is a welcome resource for language teachers who wish to introduce the discussion of other art forms into the French literature class." Fred L. Toner, The French Review
Library Journal
These small-format volumes devoted to individual operas are the first in a projected 200-volume series (with approximately four titles to be added each month). An expansion of the "Opera Journeys Mini Guide" series that the publisher launched last year, they include a brief synopsis, a story narrative with very brief music examples, commentary and analysis, a libretto, a discography, a videography, and a dictionary of opera and musical terms. Students and opera goers may find them attractive because of their reasonable price, their e-book availability on netLibrary, and the insightful commentary and analysis by Fisher (lecturer, Florida Intl. Univ.). A list of source materials, however, would have been useful; in portions of the Butterfly and Boh me volumes, for example, Fisher seems to have relied to some extent on Julian Budden's articles in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Also, the discographies are rife with problems. Neither record labels nor formats are given, the editing is sloppy, names are misspelled ("Tuckers" for Tucker), many dates are incorrect, and some recordings are listed twice with different dates. In one case, a recording made in 1912 with singers who are surely deceased is dated 2001. An entry for a recording of Carmen reverses the women's roles, listing Gheorghiu as Carmen and Larmore as Michaela. Attractive format and engaging commentary aside, these volumes are compromised by their inaccuracies. Not recommended. [The ISBNs for the e-books are the same as those for the print versions. Ed.] Kate McCaffrey, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521398978
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1992
  • Series: Cambridge Opera Handbooks Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Acknowledgments; 1. Mérimée's 'Carmen' Peter Robinson; 2. The genesis of Bizet's Carmen; 3. Images of race, class and gender in nineteenth-century French culture; 4. The musical languages of Carmen; 5. Synopsis and analysis; 6. The reception of Carmen; 7. Carmen on film; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

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