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Carmen and the Staging of SpainRecasting Bizet's Opera in the Belle Epoque$

Michael Christoforidis and Elizabeth Kertesz

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780195384567

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195384567.001.0001

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Premiere and Revival

Premiere and Revival

Paris, Galli-Marié, and Spanish Affairs

(p.27) Chapter 1 Premiere and Revival
Carmen and the Staging of Spain

Michael Christoforidis

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

Carmen’s 1875 premiere at the Opéra-Comique was an unauspicious launch for a work that became Bizet’s most famous opera. Its controversial subject, Célestine Galli-Marié’s realist performance of the eponymous heroine, and surrounding politics all contributed to the work’s initial failure. Despite this, Carmen quickly became established in theaters around the world, leading to a triumphant revival when Galli-Marié finally returned to the role in Paris in 1883. This chapter examines connections between the opera’s changing fortunes in Paris and a range of issues related to Spain. It explores how fresh notions of local color, including the phenomenal success of the estudiantinas from 1878, transformed the landscape of Spanishness in the French capital at this time.

Keywords:   Carmen, Paris, Georges Bizet, Opéra-Comique, estudiantina, Exposition Universelle, Célestine Galli-Marié, Elena Sanz

Carmen was finally premiered at the Opéra-Comique on 3 March 1875, after a difficult six-month rehearsal period, but failed to establish itself at the Opéra-Comique. By the eve of the opera’s debut, the theater’s Director, Camille Du Locle, had become increasingly nervous about the whole production and was clearly aware of the work’s potential to create a scandal.1 As a whole, the opera posed its Opéra-Comique audience challenges aplenty, from genre disruption and musical innovation to its controversial subject matter and, above all, Célestine Galli-Marié’s realist performance style in the title role. But there were multiple factors behind the celebrated “failure” of Carmen’s premiere, including cultural politics connected with the theater and the broader political resonances of the opera’s plot and setting. While the opera employed Spanish local color in familiar settings like the square, tavern, and bullring, and was populated by smugglers, gypsies, and bullfighters—themes that had been worked and reworked in literature and on the Parisian stage throughout the nineteenth century—Bizet and his librettists found new ways to dramatize the representation of Spain and Spanishness. It was to take the passing of seven (p.28) years and a new wave of Spanish fashion to reconcile the Opéra-Comique to what eventually became its most enduring and popular work.

Carmen’s Early Contretemps

It must have been a very long night at the Opéra-Comique for the audience on 3 March 1875, with four substantial acts interspersed by half-hour intermissions and the addition of encored numbers. The tale of the public’s evolving response to the opera has often been told: act 1 was greeted with enthusiasm, and after responding positively to the Habanera, the children’s march, and José and Micaëla’s duet, the opening-night audience also welcomed the entertaining aspects of act 2, like the opening dance and song sequence of the “Chanson bohème,” Escamillo’s couplets (the famous “Toreador Song”) and the smugglers’ quintet. But the musically fluid encounter between José and Carmen may have been a little challenging, breaking as it did with the Opéra-Comique’s conventions of a simpler number structure. In act 3 the familiar, arguably “Gounodesque” quality of Micaëla’s prayer aria, “Je dis que rien ne m’épouvante,” was applauded, but after the longeurs of this act, even the colorful Spanish gaiety of the start of act 4 could not prevent a sense of cold indifference, tinged with outrage, from hanging over the entire final act. After the opening crowd scene, the success of act 4 rests squarely on the dramatic and musical ability of José and Carmen, and its impact was undoubtedly weakened on this occasion by Paul Lherié’s unconvincing performance as José, in addition to the continuous music and unconventional tragic ending.2

Premiere and RevivalParis, Galli-Marié, and Spanish Affairs

Figure 1.1 Act 1—Carmen, “L’amour est un oiseau rebelle,” from Georges Bizet, Carmen: Opéra en 4 actes; Partition piano et chant (Paris: Choudens fils, 1875), [Plate] no. 2.

Credit: National Library of Australia, MUS HELM I/186.

The staging of Spain in the Opéra-Comique, or indeed any popular Parisian theater of this era, was both popular and familiar. The 1875 production of Carmen, however, was considered exceptional for its beautifully executed decor, in which critics noted the work of artists rather than hack theater designers.3 Galli-Marié’s costumes were designed by Georges-Jules-Victor (p.29) Clairin, who had accompanied the artist Henri Regnault on his celebrated 1868 trip to Spain, while the dragoons’ costumes were assigned to a noted military artist, Jean-Baptiste Édouard Detaille.4 Although lithographs of the stage designs by Auguste Lamy survive in the archive of Bizet’s publisher, Choudens, it is unclear whether he was in fact the artist responsible, and the artist’s name was not promoted in the press as a drawcard for the opera. Unlike later productions, for which designers were sent to Spain to purchase costumes and make sketches on location, in 1875 the Opéra-Comique was satisfied with a less direct “authenticity” (see Figure 1.1). No ragged or scantily clad chorus members affronted the bourgeois sensibility of this respectable audience. Instead, well-dressed actors played against backdrops that displayed fine stone architecture and recreated an image of l’Espagne romantique that had become a stereotype during the Second Empire. This theatrical Spain was apparently untouched by the harsher realities described by travelers and depicted by artists like Gustave Doré or in contemporary French photographs of poverty-stricken gypsies and Sevillian tobacco workers. The barren mountain pass that formed the backdrop to act 3 was the only exception to Carmen’s benign picture of Spain, but even this scene lacked originality, because of its striking similarity to the set of Offenbach’s Les Brigands (1869), recently revived at the Variétés, which was instantly noted.5 Some critics praised the fresh realism of the production, pointing to its similarities with images by Spanish artists then in vogue in Paris. Albert de Lasalle casually observed that the picturesque quality of the decors and costumes was reminiscent of leafing through a picture album by Mariano Fortuny or Daniel Vierge, while Paul de Saint-Victor declared that the gay local color of the tavern scene (act 2) and the procession of bullfighters that opened act 4 “could have been signed by Fortuny or [Eduardo] Zamacois.”6

The link between Carmen’s visual style and well-worn tropes of Spanish-styled entertainment is made explicit in critical praise for the gypsy revelry of act 2. Set in a rather fine patio, complete with decorative stone balcony and palm tree, the Opéra-Comique managed to squeeze only two dancers onto the tiny stage amid the chorus. Surprisingly, several critics singled this scene out as being so realistic that “you will think you are in Spain.”7 Spanish dance was in a period of transition, and it is difficult to determine exactly what (p.30) dances were performed as part of the 1875 production. Illustrations suggest a salon-style Spanish dance, along the lines of the performances of the famous Spanish dancer Lola de Valence, popular in Paris during the 1850s and 1860s. Such choreography, while more folkloric than that of Fanny Elssler, still appears largely balletic, with some arm gesture and no use of heels, unlike (p.31) the newer flamenco dance styles performed in Spanish cafés cantantes in the 1870s (see Figure 1.2). Likewise, the women’s costumes would already have been clichéd in the 1850s—the long skirts with little bolero jackets in act 1 have little connection to Spanish fashions of the 1870s, nor even to the depictions of (p.32) gypsy Spain so current in France. It remains unclear whether the production team was trying to depict contemporary Spain or employ a stylized historicism to match the era in which the opera is set.

Premiere and RevivalParis, Galli-Marié, and Spanish Affairs

Figure 1.2 Act 2—Carmen, Don José, “Je vais danser en votre honneur!” from Georges Bizet, Carmen: Opéra en 4 actes; Partition piano et chant (Paris: Choudens fils, 1875), [Plate] no. 7.

Credit: National Library of Australia, MUS HELM I/186.

Galli-Marié was photographed in her ornate costume for act 2 and seated on a table with legs swinging and hand on her hip (see Figure 1.3). Clearly differentiated from her act 1 garb, this outfit also deviates from contemporary images of staged Spanishness or even representations of Spanish gypsies in the visual arts, despite the presence of castanets at her side and madroños (bobbles) edging the bodice. The large pendant earrings, necklace of coins, and armband adorning her bare arms suggest a more Orientalized vision of the gypsy, sharing features with contemporary images of gypsies from Eastern Europe and the Ottoman Empire.8 But it is Galli-Marié’s pose that strengthens the message of sensuality created by the exotic costuming in this image. Her jutting elbow emphasizes her rounded hips and breasts while suggesting an unfeminine sense of power. The stance, which is found in many depictions of Spanish dancers and becomes typical of Carmen portraits, signals to the viewer that this character is not afraid to transgress the limits of accepted feminine behavior.9

Premiere and RevivalParis, Galli-Marié, and Spanish Affairs

Figure 1.3 Céléstine Galli-Marié in costume for act 2 of Carmen, photograph by A[lphonse] Liébert (1875).

Credit: Private collection.

Galli-Marié’s portrayal of Carmen was the most controversial aspect of the production—if not also the key to the opera’s lasting success—because it was she who lifted the veil created by Mérimée’s literary artifice and narrative frames.10 Her mature and expressive sensuality, epitomized by the swaying of her hips, was a sign of the character’s feisty independence and presented the gypsy in full sunlight, both “embodied” and “envoiced.” Considered too provocative for the Opéra-Comique stage, Galli-Marié reminded many critics of Paris’s seedy street life, of the visible and working-class immorality of women on street corners in the suburbs; she portrayed a “common” woman.11 Even the scene outside the bullring was connected by one critic with a particular Parisian street and described in terms of a local crime report.12

Galli-Marié certainly tried to communicate the subversive, disruptive potential of her character in her interpretation of the role, but if she had played (p.33) (p.34) Carmen simply as exuberant exotic stereotype, perhaps she might not have caused such offence. Karen Henson describes her interpretation as “actorly,” relying more on carefully judged nuance than grand gesture, drawing on a family heritage of thoroughly researched stagecraft, and summoning an ability to make up with convincing physicality for any vocal limitations.13 As described by Blaze de Bury, Galli-Marié’s performance was “skilled, truthful, always simple; no screams, no melodrama,” until she finally appeared to be exhausted and overcome.14 This refusal of artifice confronted the protected bourgeois wives and daughters who attended the Opéra-Comique with a new sense of realism on a stage that had always promised them escapist entertainment.15 Its effect was perhaps exacerbated by the disjunction at the heart of the work, foreshadowed by the abrupt shift from gaiety to tension in the overture, and culminating in the swing from exuberant spectacle to shocking violence in the final act.

An alternative explanation for the coolness of Carmen’s initial reception lies in the possibility that the opera was seen as an allegory of recent events in French political life. By 1875 France was still slowly recovering from its humiliating defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, followed by the bloody Paris Commune in the first half of 1871 and its long aftermath.16 There is a strong case to be made for the impact of the Commune on the character of Carmen and aspects of the opera, and Delphine Mordey claims that allusions to the Commune are carried over into some of the misogynist lexicon employed by critics when describing the opera’s protagonist.17 But it could also be argued that there were parallels with contemporary Spanish figures in the characterization of Carmen. French critics were used to reading operas set in distant times and places as allegories of the problems of contemporary France, while Meilhac and Halévy were known for lampooning the government in their opéras bouffes. As foreshadowed in the Prelude, it is possible that Carmen’s appearance so soon after the fall of the Second Empire may have been seen as a comment on the reign of Eugénie and Napoleon III. Many blamed the Emperor’s failure to save France from this fate on his essential weakness, too easily led by his beautiful but (in the public’s opinion) (p.35) untrustworthy Spanish wife. She was described as “the Spanish whore” by her detractors, and blamed for the decisions that led to France’s 1870 defeat under her regency. Harsh caricatures proliferated, attacking Eugénie as a woman who meddled in politics, focusing specifically on her Spanish identity (see Figure 1.4).18

Premiere and RevivalParis, Galli-Marié, and Spanish Affairs

Figure 1.4 Zut [Alfred Le Petit], “La V … Espagnole” (1870–71). The Empress Eugénie depicted as a warmongering Spanish cow in partnership with (her rider) Prime Minister Émile Ollivier, wreaking havoc on her husband (Napoleon III) and son (Louis Napoléon, Prince Imperial).

Credit: Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, Truebner 1::1, Collection de caricatures et de charges pour servir à l’histoire de la guerre et de la révolution de 1870–1871, vol. 1, 50, CC-BY-SA 3.0.

The beautiful Empress Eugénie was seen by many of her French subjects as a Spanish woman who was both powerful and capricious, thus embodying some of the characteristics of Bizet’s Carmen. Also like Carmen, the exiled former Spanish monarch Isabel II, resident in Paris from 1868, was notorious for her string of lovers, populist musical tastes, and political maneuverings on behalf of both French and Spanish royalist interests. Isabel’s behavior, alongside Eugénie’s reputation, perpetuated complaints about Spain meddling in French affairs of state. This political subtext may have further undermined any chance that Carmen could serve that time-honored function of an opéra comique: allowing the audience to forget the practical and political problems of life in a France still recovering from the horrors of war and the Commune.

Carmen’s debut may have been scheduled to coincide with the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between France and Spain, after the disruption caused by the restoration of the Spanish monarchy and accession of Alfonso XII to the throne in December 1874. This state occasion, which took place on the morning of the premiere, presented the opportunity to promote Bizet’s new opera as a sign of engagement between the two nations and pay a subtle compliment to the new regime of Alfonso XII. Du Locle, however—nervous about the opera’s “immorality” and anxious to avoid any diplomatic tension—withheld invitations from visiting Spanish dignitaries and their counterparts in the French government.19

Political undercurrents aside, many have ascribed the opera’s initial difficulties to the way its title character’s loose behavior, exacerbated by explicit representations of violence and murder, violated the sensibilities of a family-oriented theater, consecrated to the entertainment of the bourgeoisie. These factors possibly caused greater moral outrage than any exotic or Spanish element of the work’s sensuality and violence. Despite the belief expressed in some quarters after Bizet’s death that the work had been destroyed by overwhelmingly negative reviews, Lesley Wright concludes that although “a few critics were thoroughly vitriolic and dismissive,” in general the opera was “damned with faint praise,” and positive commentary appeared alongside responses ranging from “tepid” to downright “disapproving.”20 As for Bizet’s (p.36) music, most of the critics devoted little space to the score, largely confining their “musical” commentary to praise of the principal singers and disparagement of Bizet’s choral writing, which was far too difficult to be successfully executed by the Opéra-Comique’s chorus.21

(p.37) The management’s lack of support for Bizet’s new work was clearly a factor in the difficulties of the first-night reception, but accounts of later performances suggest a much more appreciative audience, despite the controversy surrounding the premiere.22Carmen managed a creditable thirty-five performances between March and June 1875, but with the addition of only a further thirteen by the end of the 1875–76 season. Having failed to attract and maintain large audiences, it was dropped from the Opéra-Comique’s repertory after a final outing on 15 February 1876.23 Bizet’s disappointment, indeed heartbreak, at Carmen’s initial reception, and his tragic death only three months later, quickly became part of the mythology surrounding the opera, typically related by international critics introducing a new production, and it played a crucial role in the work’s promotion when it was finally relaunched in Paris.

The French capital may have abandoned Carmen in 1876, but the opera swiftly achieved international success.24 In foreign theaters, audiences valued elements in Carmen that had failed to inspire Parisians, and in truth, very few saw the same work that had premiered at the Opéra-Comique in spring 1875. Bizet’s publisher, Éditions Choudens, was aware that foreign performances might require recitatives to replace the spoken dialogues typical of an opéra comique, so these were commissioned from the composer Ernest Guiraud. The critic Achille de Lauzières undertook the translation into Italian, still the predominant language of many international opera theaters.25 To be staged as a grand opera, Carmen also required ballets, for possible use in acts 2 and 4, so Guiraud interpolated three dances, reorchestrating two numbers from Bizet’s incidental music to L’Arlésienne and adapting the “Danse bohémienne” from Bizet’s opera La Jolie Fille de Perth (1867).

The first production of Carmen outside Paris took place on 23 October 1875 at the Wiener Hofoper, conducted by Hans Richter, and the work immediately became an annual fixture in the program of the Viennese court theater. It was performed in German, and as Guiraud’s recitatives did not arrive in (p.38) time to be translated and rehearsed, the premiere featured spoken dialogue and additional dances by Carl Telle. Halévy described it as having become “un opéra-ballet à grand spectacle” to suit Viennese tastes. Indeed, act 4 included not only a danced divertissement set to music from La Jolie Fille de Perth but also a magnificent procession of bullfighters, including picadors mounted on live horses.26

Carmen’s second international staging was in Brussels on 3 February 1876, initially with Maria Derivis as Carmen, but soon starring Galli-Marié. This French-language production followed the Opéra-Comique in style of presentation, featuring neither ballets nor horses. It delighted local audiences and enjoyed no fewer than twenty-five performances before the season finished in May. Antwerp’s first Carmen closely followed, and in October 1876 Budapest staged it in Hungarian. Stockholm, London, Dublin, and New York welcomed Carmen in 1878, and 1879 saw its debut in the Antipodes, to enthusiastic Melbourne audiences. It finally reached Germany in the early months of 1880, first Hamburg, then Berlin, to enjoy what John Klein described as the “unparalleled popularity of Bizet’s masterpiece in Germany.”27

Galli-Marié herself went on to perform Carmen throughout Europe and the French provinces, and created the role at its Italian premiere on 15 November 1879 at the Bellini Theater in Naples. Carmen did not meet with immediate success in Italy, because of uneven performances, inappropriately large theaters, and sometimes inadequate staging, but its Italian publisher, Edoardo Sonzogno, persevered and the opera was performed widely throughout the country. During the 1880s—once audiences had grown to appreciate its musical originality—Italian critics acknowledged Carmen as both new and modern. The chief catalyst for this positive reception was Galli-Marié’s performance in the November 1881 production at Genoa, famously attended by Friedrich Nietzsche. Galli-Marié had introduced Carmen to Spain the preceding summer, and perhaps her newly minted “Spanish” touches added to the work’s appeal and underscored Nietzsche’s appreciation of the Mediterraneity of Bizet’s score. Galli-Marié’s Carmen proved influential, her tireless international touring assuring the opera’s impact. However, her performances in Italy were precursors to the new and distinctive performance styles that were to develop around operatic verismo.28

(p.39) Italian audiences recognized Carmen as a successor to Verdi in its treatment of “common” people living their everyday life (the workers in the tobacco factory), its expression of raw emotion, and its working out of subjects like love, duty, and betrayal. Bizet is in turn credited with a generative role in the development of operatic verismo, as Carmen’s success in Italy coincided with the rise of Italian literary verismo, and the work was championed by Sonzogno’s artistic director, Amintore Galli. An eminent musicologist and critic, Galli in turn fostered Pietro Mascagni’s early operatic efforts.29 Furthermore, it was Carmen’s establishment in the Italian repertory that facilitated its international dissemination. Once translated and adapted to the norms of Italian opera (mainly by replacing spoken dialogue with recitative), works like Carmen could be taken up by any of the vast network of Italian theaters and companies (whether touring or locally based) across the world.30 As Carmen began its slow but triumphant international conquest, Paris was about to embrace a new wave of Spanish entertainment, which was to prepare the audiences of the Opéra-Comique for a new start with Bizet’s wayward gypsy.

Changing Landscapes of Spanish Entertainment: The Exposition Universelle of 1878 and Beyond

As the 1870s progressed, French attitudes to Spain began to change, no longer associating it with the end of the Second Empire and ensuing political instability. Gradually the Third Republic settled in, and the restoration of the Spanish monarchy in 1874, after the uncertain period of the Sexenio Democrático, reduced the constant and destabilizing intrigues of exiled Spaniards in Paris. The scene was set for a fresh injection of Spanish entertainment, and Parisians were more than ready for some fun. The 1878 Exposition Universelle, which ran from May to November, was the occasion of great festivities after years of somber rebuilding.

Before the Exposition even opened, the festival atmosphere was ignited by a new sensation in Spanish entertainment: a large ensemble of serenading Spanish musicians calling themselves the Estudiantina (p.40) española.31 This group traveled up from Madrid in early March 1878 to play on Parisian streets during Carnival. A typical estudiantina formation, with plucked string instruments at its core, it predominantly employed bandurrias, laúdes, and guitars, with the occasional addition of violins, flutes, castanets, and tambours de basque, and some of the ensemble members singing and dancing as well. Spanish estudiantina ensembles were often associated with outdoor music, and while their historical precedents lay in Spanish student groups dating back to medieval times, in the latter part of the nineteenth century these traditions were recast in the changing urban contexts of the Iberian peninsula. They gained an international stage in the wake of the Parisian triumph of the Estudiantina española, and their immense popularity in the last two decades of the nineteenth century made them integral to the international projection of Spanish popular musical styles and associated dances.

Consisting of sixty-four students from Madrid’s Conservatorium and from various faculties of the University of Madrid, the Estudiantina española planned its visit to Paris to coincide with Carnival festivities and preparations for the 1878 Exposition Universelle, which was to commence in May.32 They took their cue from the activities undertaken by estudiantinas in previous Madrid Carnivals. Despite the well-to-do bourgeois background of the group’s membership, it seems that the Spanish monarchy and government had reservations about the trip, given the propensity for pranks among university students.33 Under the leadership of Ildefonso de Zabaleta and Joaquín de Castañeda, and aware that their activities in Paris would reflect upon Spain, the students drafted a strict code of conduct, and named themselves the Estudiantina española.

Rather than put together their own ad hoc student dress from bygone eras, they commissioned Lorenzo Paris, the principal costumier of the Teatro Real (Madrid’s royal opera house), to design and fabricate a costume that reflected elements of Renaissance student dress, such as the ruffled collar. When combined with a number of anachronistic elements, like the eighteenth-century bicorne hat, this luxurious uniform became a nineteenth-century theatrical representation of a university student (p.41) from the Spanish Golden Age and formed the basic template for future estudiantina groups (see Figure 1.5).34

Premiere and RevivalParis, Galli-Marié, and Spanish Affairs

Figure 1.5 “Les étudiants espagnols à Paris” (The Spanish students in Paris), L’Ilustration: Journal Universel (16 March 1878), cover.

On arriving in Paris on 2 March 1878, members of the Estudiantina española (or “Estudiantina espagnole” as it was dubbed in French) directed themselves to the Spanish Embassy, performing along the boulevards and suspending traffic on the Quai d’Orsay. This form of street music and dance dominated their activities over the next few days. They serenaded outside the (p.42) residences of leading Spanish and French dignitaries, such as the palaces of the French President Patrice Maurice de MacMahon and the exiled Isabel II, and the homes of the famous opera singer (and mistress of Alfonso XII) Elena Sanz and the renowned author Victor Hugo. They also spent their time being fêted by—and serenading—leading French citizens and nobility, including the visiting Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII). A fancy dress ball was held in the ensemble’s honor, attended by leading figures from the Hispanic colony and the “artistic demi monde” and sponsored by Josep Oller, the famous entertainment impresario of Spanish origin.35 Concerts were given in their honor at the Théâtre-Italien, during which Sanz joined the estudiantina “singing jotas and habaneras from her homeland.”36 But what drew the largest crowds of Parisians were the impromptu performances at some of the principal sites of the French capital, which included parts of Montmartre, the Place de l’Opéra, and the Jardin des Tuileries, where the estudiantina attracted an estimated crowd of 50,000 people on 6 March.37

Like their counterparts in Spain, the repertoire of the Estudiantina española consisted primarily of arrangements of Spanish airs, including instrumental versions of boleros, jotas, and seguidillas, as well as zortzicos and malagueñas, at times accompanied by song. They also incorporated urban popular styles such as waltzes and habaneras, marches, and pasodobles. Some of these Spanish airs were taken from zarzuela arrangements, composed popular scores, or the new wave of cancioneros. The Estudiantina española and its subsequent imitators had the effect of reinvigorating well-known Spanish folk and popular song and dance styles, as well as introducing fresh styles to a new generation of Parisian and international audiences. A number of European composers also wrote piano and orchestral works inspired by the sonority of the estudiantinas, the most popular of which was Emile Waldteufel’s Estudiantina Waltz op. 191 (1883). Another work of the same year inspired by the plucked-string sonority of the jotas of the estudiantinas was Emmanuel Chabrier’s orchestral showpiece España, and this sonority was also to infuse some of the dances (p.43) from Jules Massenet’s Le Cid (1885). The success of the Estudiantina española spawned a multitude of imitators who remained on the international popular music stage until World War I. Most of these subsequent estudiantina ensembles were made up of professional entertainers and ranged in size between ten and twenty players, although they were at times as small as a trio.38

Several Paris newspapers noted that the Spanish students had done much to revive the spirit of Carnival in the French capital, and that exuberant crowds of this size had not been seen on the streets of Paris since the fall of the Second Empire.39 After the ravages of the Franco-Prussian War the Spanish students represented a less threatening invasion, one that was welcomed by the extensive Hispanic colony in Paris and was seen by the press as strengthening the bonds of Latinité and Franco-Spanish fraternity.40

The 1878 Exposition celebrated France’s recovery on a grand scale, and Spaniards made a significant contribution to its entertainment programs. Serious music by Spanish composers was represented by the official music delegate, noted writer and critic Antonio Peña y Goñi, while the government also sent the Quartet Society and the Concert Society of Madrid, the latter being a hundred-piece orchestra.41 In addition, the Catalan composer Manuel Giró (resident in Paris from 1875) conducted the Orchestre de l’Exposition on 13 July 1878 in a program of Spanish music. More popular Spanish entertainment was provided by the numerous troupes drawn to Paris by the Exposition, and the injection of their novel representation of Spanish entertainment began to shift French attitudes toward Spanish music. A dance troupe directed by Manuel Guerrero appeared at the Gymnase, while the Palais du Trocadéro hosted several Spanish companies, including a quintet that performed popular Spanish music in national costume.42 The performers at the Gymnase presented a number of Spanish danzas regionales, most notably from Galicia, Seville, and Valencia. Critic Édouard Fournier observed that these local dances reached their perfection only once they had been polished and transformed by the dance schools of Seville, agreeing with the celebrated Spanish traveler (p.44) Baron Davillier that only in Seville could one find the true dancer, with “honey in her hips.”43

The Spanish mezzo-soprano Elena Sanz, beloved star of Paris’s Théâtre-Italien, was a leading figure in the Spanish entertainments that occurred around the Exposition in 1878.44 An established and respected opera singer, during the 1870s she had sung at Milan’s La Scala and Madrid’s Teatro Real (in Julián Gayarre’s company), and had toured internationally. She was a regular member of the Théâtre-Italien and was renowned for her roles in Donizetti’s La favorita and in Verdi’s operas (see Figure 1.6). Having made Paris her home, Sanz was often heard in concert and private performances, and she was the driving force behind many Spanish-themed events held in Paris from the late 1870s into the 1890s.

Premiere and RevivalParis, Galli-Marié, and Spanish Affairs

Figure 1.6 Elena Sanz as Amneris in Aida at the Théâtre-Italien, in Paris-Théâtre 4, no. 99 (8–14 March 1877): cover.

Sanz’s stage career was interrupted in the 1870s by her long liaison with Alfonso XII of Spain, with whom she had two children in the early 1880s. Alfonso insisted that Sanz retire from the stage in late 1878 and she did not reappear in operatic roles until after his untimely death in 1885, although she occasionally appeared in concerts from 1883. Sanz was widely recognized as the best Carmen never to sing the role on the stage of the Opéra-Comique. However, as early as 1878 she had performed the “Habanera” from Carmen, along with several “romances espagnoles” and operatic selections, at her benefit concert on 18 June, which was attended by luminaries such as Isabel II.45 Would it have been acceptable for a woman widely acknowledged as the established mistress of Alfonso XII to appear in an opera like Carmen, in Paris, with Isabel II and her considerable Spanish aristocratic entourage in attendance? Sanz’s social status was well known, and her casting might have upset the notoriously bourgeois audiences of the Salle Favart.46 Despite not impersonating Carmen on the Paris stage, Sanz did perform the role in the provincial centers of Spa and Rouen, and continued to sing numbers from the opera in concert. A celebrated exponent of Spanish popular song styles, Sanz was able, according to contemporary accounts, to modulate her vocal and performance styles to accommodate the lyricism of opera, salon song styles, and the inflections and modes of delivery of Spanish song forms. A performance given by Sanz in Madrid in April 1883 highlights her versatility: she sang Italian songs by Saverio Mercadante and Salvatore Scuderi and a Neapolitan serenade (p.45) by Émile Paladilhe, and then she responded to “enthusiastic applause from the public, who asked that she sing a Spanish song and another in a flamenco style, which she performed at the piano accompanying herself.” On that occasion she performed the song La moza del temple by José Inzenga (one of the great Spanish song composers and folksong arrangers of the mid-nineteenth century) and some malagueñas. The critic of La época declared, “What a great pity that Elena Sanz has retired from the theater, where she has gained so many triumphs.”47 Whether in the company of estudiantinas or accompanying (p.46) herself at the piano, Sanz was a key figure in the dissemination of a range of Spanish song styles in the salons and concert venues of Paris in the 1870s and again from the mid-1880s. Her social status and aristocratic connections reinforced her projections of Spanishness, and as we will see in later chapters, aspects of her approach to Spanish song (and the numbers from Carmen) were to shape the conception of future Carmens, both French and Spanish, from the 1890s onward.

Coinciding with Sanz’s years in Paris, another Spaniard had a dominant presence at the Opéra and was to be painted on several occasions by Degas. This was the ballerina Rosita Mauri, a virtuoso in a variety of styles, who reigned as première danseuse at the Paris Opéra between 1878 and 1898.48 Her training in Barcelona allowed her to develop a mastery of Spanish regional dance—including the more classicized Bolero school—as well as Franco-Italian ballet traditions. She came to Paris as a recognized international performer, having danced in the leading opera ballet companies of Barcelona, Vienna, Berlin, and Milan during the 1870s, and she was renowned for being extremely supple, energetic, and dramatic. Charles Gounod saw her dance at La Scala in 1877 and persuaded the Opéra to hire her for the premiere of his opera Polyeucte, in which she made her Paris debut the following year. Her dancing in Charles-Marie Widor’s ballet La Korrigane (1880) raised her to the forefront of Paris ballet. At times Mauri’s Spanish background and much-admired dark hair provided the excuse for casting her in exotic roles, as when she performed a pantomimic dance as a Moorish slave to a habanera in Ambroise Thomas’s Françoise de Rimini in 1882. A number of ballets or divertissements within operas were written expressly for Mauri, most notably the suite of regional Spanish dances composed by Jules Massenet for act 2 of Le Cid (1885).49 Here Mauri performed in the style of Spanishness that had been adapted to the Romantic Ballet earlier in the century, while adding her own choreographic touches (see Figure 1.7). Musically, Massenet adopts the rhythms and ornamental melodic writing associated with a number of regional styles, and he employs a habanera rhythm in the “Andalouse.” The suite is cloaked in a vibrant orchestration that at times alludes to the Spanish sonorities then in vogue, including the sounds of the estudiantina in the “Castillane.” Critics noted Massenet’s sense (p.47) of bold anachronism in the ballet: “He has not feared to mix with Spain of the eleventh century all of modern Spain, with its toreros, its cachuchas, its fandangos, its estudiantinas, and the rest.”50

Premiere and RevivalParis, Galli-Marié, and Spanish Affairs

Figure 1.7 Rosita Mauri in costume for Jules Massenet’s Le Cid (1885), based on a photograph by Mr. Benque.

Credit: Private collection.

In the late 1870s, Pablo Sarasate also began to project his Spanishness on the concert stage in the wake of his collaboration with Lalo and the death of Bizet, and especially after the reinvigoration of Spanish song that resulted (p.48) from the phenomenal success of the estudiantinas. This was achieved through Sarasate’s composition and performance of a series of folk-inspired concert pieces. In 1881 he combined this recent interest with an established genre—the operatic paraphrase—to create one of his most popular works, the Carmen Fantasy op. 25. In this typically virtuosic operatic potpourri, Sarasate opened with the theme from the entr’acte to act 4, but thereafter selected only motives sung by Carmen. From act 1, he took the “Habanera,” Carmen’s exchange with Zuñiga (possibly based on a folk theme that Sarasate had brought to Bizet’s attention), and the “Séguedille,” as well as the “Chanson bohème” from act 2. It is almost as if Sarasate had wanted the violin to impersonate the gypsy protagonist.51

Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy was enormously popular in Paris and throughout Europe, encouraging the further dissemination of the music of Carmen on the concert stage. Here is a clear example of one of the great virtuosi of his age reclaiming his Spanishness through the music of Carmen and in the process highlighting the Spanishness of his colleague’s score. In 1881, and again in early 1887, Madrid critics responded coolly to the Carmen Fantasy—in sharp contrast to its rapturous audience reception—and demanded that Sarasate play more of his own Spanish works as encores.52 “[T]‌he habanera of maestro Iradier” was judged to be a “completely Spanish” work that had “nothing to do with Bizet.”53 But this comment predated the arrival of Carmen in Madrid, and it could be argued that Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy would in some small measure prepare the ground for both the Madrid premiere and the Paris revival of the opera.

Galli-Marié and Carmen’s Triumphant Return to the Opéra-Comique

For seven long years after its 1875 premiere, Carmen was banished from the Parisian stage, but audiences in the French capital were again engaging with Spanish entertainment and Bizet’s music was not forgotten. Although none of Bizet’s works were revived in Paris after their initial performances until the 1880s, Parisian music lovers were able to familiarize themselves with (p.49) Carmen’s key numbers while waiting for its 1883 revival. Sheet-music versions of many numbers were released, and were played or sung in private homes, in the salons and even in cafés-concerts. As Charles de Sivry observed in 1883, “[n]‌o society lady, nor even a bourgeois one, with the slightest shred of a voice fails to sing—more or less—the famous Habañera.”54

While pursuing her tireless advocacy of Bizet’s masterpiece outside France, Galli-Marié appeared as Carmen some 350 times between 1875 and 1883.55 On 2 August 1881 she introduced Carmen to Spain, appearing in the title role at Barcelona’s Teatro Lírico.56 A quiet debut, this national premiere was soon all but forgotten, even though Carmen was to dominate Barcelona’s theatrical life a decade later. On this occasion Galli-Marié appeared with a visiting French company, and her starring roles in five operas (including Faust and Mignon) were acclaimed by the Barcelona public.57 Not unaware of the significance of premiering Bizet’s “Spanish” opera south of the Pyrenees, she took the opportunity to study local dance and song, taking daily dance lessons from the maestro de ballet at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, despite the punishing summer heat. But what style of “authentic” Spanish dance would she have learned from such a master? Not the newly emerging flamenco, we can be sure. In Barcelona’s leading opera theater, the Liceu’s dancing master would have espoused a balletic and stylized form of national dance, as exemplified by the theater’s one-time star, Rosita Mauri.

Whether or not this training shaped Galli-Marié’s performances in the Catalan capital, she was complimented by the local press on her characteristic and dramatic execution of a role thought difficult for an artist who had not been born in Spain.58 In the context of an imperfect production—marred by lack of rehearsal, inadequate orchestra (not enough violins), and inappropriate costumes—her reading of the role was considered unexaggerated, and she escaped any accusation of perpetrating an espagnolade. She played Carmen for four nights to enthusiastic applause, and was called to repeat the “Habanera” at each performance.59

(p.50) Galli-Marié further proved her “Spanish” credentials with her encore on the last night of her Barcelona engagement, a benefit performance of Mignon. Accompanying herself at the piano, she sang a well-known habanera, “La Habana se va á perder,” with clear and correct pronunciation, and was called for an encore.60 The singer herself was pleased with her Catalan reception, writing to Bizet’s widow—with whom she had remained in touch as she continued to lobby for the work’s reinstatement—that “we have had another great success, this time in Carmen’s own country.”61

Back in Paris, Bizet’s great supporter Léon Carvalho had been made director of the Opéra-Comique in 1876, but despite having commissioned Les Pêcheurs de perles and the incidental music to L’Arlésienne some years before, he had no great fondness for Carmen, and thought it unsuitable for his family-oriented theater. Carvalho had found Galli-Marié’s portrayal too realistic and believed that the tavern in act 2 represented a brothel, an immoral place he would never countenance on the stage of his theater.62 Halévy tried repeatedly to change his mind, but Carvalho always declared that the foreign productions must have changed the libretto dramatically and that no one would ever dare stage it in France. In 1878, however, provincial theaters took courage, led by Marseilles and Lyons, and this argument lost its weight. By the early 1880s, both the Parisian press and the subscribers of the Opéra-Comique, galled by watching the opera achieve success after success not just abroad, but in the French provinces as well, had realized it was high time they reclaimed Carmen. So Carvalho relented, on condition that a singer other than Galli-Marié could be found to play Carmen, and he reluctantly staged an expurgated version of the work on 21 April 1883.

Some critics suggested that Carvalho had set Carmen up for another failure, opening after insufficient rehearsal, toward the end of the season, when it was overshadowed by the debut of Léo Delibes’s Lakmé only the week before. The whole production was toned down, with worn sets and costumes, respectable ballerinas for the dance in Lillas Pastia’s tavern, a pedestrian musical performance, and a demure blond soprano—Adèle Isaac—as Carmen.63 The deficiencies of the production notwithstanding, critics and audience embraced the opera warmly, ensuring its seventeen performances were a resounding success, but anger was directed at Carvalho for treating the work so shabbily. Some critics were forced to reverse their negative judgments of 1875, declaring that Carmen should henceforth form a permanent part of the Opéra-Comique’s repertory, reserving residual criticism for Galli-Marié’s role (p.51) in the original production. Spanishness was not at issue this time, and the critical response focused on reclaiming for France a work that was now internationally acknowledged as a masterpiece, by a composer who since his death was beginning to receive the recognition that had eluded him while alive.

Galli-Marié herself by now claimed to have developed a gentler manner in the role, even offering to respond to any criticisms that might be harbored by Meilhac, Halévy, and Carvalho, by shaping her interpretation to their direction in a production near Paris.64 The pressure evidently became so intense, and the likelihood of the opera making serious money so certain, that Carvalho reengaged Galli-Marié and mounted a “new” production at the Opéra-Comique. Carmen received its true revival, uncut, with new costumes and sets, on 27 October 1883.65 Galli-Marié’s return to the role featured what some critics saw as a more considered and accomplished characterization, in which—according to Alphonse Duvernoy—she “rendered the passionate, bizarre, dynamic, cruel portrait of this girl of the streets with a power and an ease that compel admiration.”66 Initially booked for only twenty performances, she stayed on until the end of the year, and on 22 December Carmen’s hundredth performance was celebrated.67

Galli-Marié’s performance now included refinements based on her study and observation of Spanish life and culture. She adorned her Carmen with a carnation, replacing the rose of earlier productions, because she said this was the flower preferred by manolas (typical Madrid women, especially around 1800). She insisted on using a real knife, despite suffering repeated injuries. Indeed, she later claimed to have injured three of her Don Josés over the years as well.68 Furthermore, she adopted the kiss-curl, and associated herself even more closely with the character she impersonated by claiming a superstitious belief in its talismanic quality: she told the press that the state of her hair dictated her mood and performance, and insisting that this coquettish curl plastered to her cheek must stay in place (see Figure 1.8).69 She was accorded further authenticity in the role when a critic likened her hip-swaying image to a “filly from the studs of Cordoba,” echoing the phrase in Chapter 3 of (p.52) Mérimée’s novella.70 All these stories circulating in the press surely served to enhance her cachet in the role.

Premiere and RevivalParis, Galli-Marié, and Spanish Affairs

Figure 1.8 “Mme Galli-Marie,” photograph by Adolphe Jullien Nadar (c. 1883), reproduced in Le Théâtre, 164 (October [II] 1905): 4.

Credit: State Library of Victoria.

This second revival, with Galli-Marié’s triumphant return to the title role, transformed the reputation of Bizet’s opera. After making Galli-Marié the scapegoat for the work’s initial failure, some critics had to execute a volte-face in order to praise her. After the work’s thousandth performance in late 1904, Félix Duquesnel rewrote history by declaring that the 1875 failure had occurred “despite the remarkable interpretation of Madame Galli Marié, who realized the ideal type of the heroine, the fickle cigarette girl.”71 No longer a shocking and immoral tale about the seduction of an innocent and unworldly (p.53) man by an exotic and dangerous femme fatale, Bizet’s masterpiece was increasingly an opera about Carmen, and the title role became the focal point of each new production. Galli-Marié had imbued her with fire and passion, but also with humanity, allowing the character to express fear and anger. Each new singer who engaged with the role was to project a personal identification of some kind, and for many Carmen’s Spanishness became their point of departure.

The success of Galli-Marié’s interpretation became part of the mythology of the opera’s rejection and reincarnation. As Carmen found its place at the heart of the Opéra-Comique’s repertory, the opera was recognized as an institution not only of that theater, but of France’s national lyric heritage as well. The furor that surrounded the 1890 inauguration of a statue of Bizet illustrates this shift. While the Parisian daily Le Gaulois coordinated subscriptions, the management of the Opéra offered to mount an extraordinary performance of Carmen as a benefit for the fund. It should be noted here that as an opéra comique, Carmen had never been staged anywhere in Paris but the Opéra-Comique theater itself, and it is an indication of the prestige now attached to Bizet’s final opera that the Opéra should have sought it out.72 The management of the Opéra-Comique was much disturbed at the prospect of losing the monopoly of a work that was one of their most consistent earners, and quickly moved to announce a gala performance of Carmen with a stellar cast on 11 December 1890. Galli-Marié herself came out of retirement to sing the title role,73 Nellie Melba appeared as Micaëla, Jean de Reszke impersonated Don José, while Jean Lassalle reprised his celebrated turn as Escamillo. A grand divertissement, added to the fourth act, allowed the appearance of ballerinas from the Opéra, led by Rosita Mauri, along with the Opéra-Comique’s own corps de ballet. The band of the Republican Guard played in the foyer, where refreshments, fans, and sweets were provided free of charge. A gala night indeed, it raised 42,000 francs for the cause, and enhanced both the theater’s prestige and its exclusive claim to Bizet’s masterpiece in the French capital.74


(1.) Du Locle’s nerves were exacerbated by the extra preparation required by the expanded chorus, which struggled to cope with the difficulties presented by Bizet’s music, and with the dramatic movement required of them. Even the librettists were anxious, and sought to soften both the harsh realism of the opera’s brutal ending, and the frank sensuality of the title character. For further details, see Mina Curtiss, Bizet and His World (New York: Vienna House, 1958), 389–92; Hugh Macdonald, Bizet, The Master Musicians (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 210–12; Lesley Wright, “Carmen and the Opéra-Comique,” in Carmen: Georges Bizet, ed. Gary Kahn (Richmond, UK: Overture, 2013a), 47.

(2.) Karen Henson, Opera Acts: Singers and Performance in the Late Nineteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 164; Lesley A. Wright, “Carmen and the Critics,” in Tan-yin-lun-yue: Conference Proceedings of “Musical Research and Music Practice,” 1999 (Taipei: Gao-Tan, 2000), 50; Paul de Saint-Victor, “Revue dramatique et littéraire,” Le Moniteur universel (Paris), 8 March 1875, quoted in Lesley Wright, ed., Georges Bizet, Carmen: Dossier de presse parisienne (1875) (Weinsberg, Germany: Lucie Galland, 2001), 48. Wright’s article “Carmen and the Critics” provides a compelling and nuanced analysis of the premiere, employing the useful concept of how the opera and its performers positioned and repositioned the audience. The classic narrative of the premiere can be found in Curtiss, Bizet and His World, 389–92.

(3.) Evan Baker, “The Scene Designs for the First Performances of Bizet’s ‘Carmen,’” 19th-Century Music 13, no. 3 (1990): 230–42.

(4.) Curtiss, Bizet and His World, 204, 379.

(5.) Ibid., 391.

(6.) Albert de Lasalle, “Chronique musicale,” Le Monde illustré (Paris), 20 March 1875; de Saint-Victor, “Revue dramatique et littéraire,” cited in Wright, ed., Dossier, 48, 138. See also Blaze de Bury, “Revue musicale,” Revue des deux mondes (1829): 477.

(7.) Blaze de Bury, writing in the Revue des deux mondes, as translated in Kerry Murphy, “Carmen: Couleur locale or the Real Thing?” in Music, Theater, and Cultural Transfer: Paris, 1830–1914, ed. Annegret Fauser and Mark Everist (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 311.

(8.) Galli-Marié’s act 2 costume also bears some resemblance to Adelina Patti’s costume for the title role of Fabio Campana’s Esmeralda (c. 1870).

(9.) Susan Rutherford, “‘Pretending to Be Wicked’: Divas, Technology, and the Consumption of Bizet’s Carmen,” in Technology and the Diva, ed. Karen Henson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 80.

(10.) See also Henson, Opera Acts, 49.

(11.) Wright, “Carmen and the Critics,” 55, 60–63; Daniel Bernard, “Théâtres,” L’Union, 8 March 1875, translated from Wright, ed., Dossier in Henson, Opera Acts, 48.

(12.) Wright, “Carmen and the Critics,” 60–61. André Michael Spies, Opera, State and Society in the Third Republic, 1875–1914, Studies in Modern European History (New York: Peter Lang, 1998), 147ff.

(13.) Henson, Opera Acts, 54, 56, 67.

(14.) Henri Blaze de Bury, “Revue musicale,” Revue des deux mondes 45 (15 March 1875): 475–80, translated from Wright, ed., Dossier in Henson, Opera Acts, 50.

(15.) Wright, “Carmen and the Critics,” 60–62; Spies, Opera, State and Society, 147ff.

(16.) In a decade of international economic downturn, France’s Conservative leadership continued to pursue the Communards through the courts, and Republican parties did not gain government until 1879. Charles Rearick, Pleasures of the Belle Epoque (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1985), 7; David Thomson, Europe since Napoleon, rev. ed. (Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1966), 396.

(17.) Delphine Mordey, “Carmen, Communarde Bizet, ‘Habanera’ (Carmen), Carmen, Act I,” Cambridge Opera Journal 28, no. 2 (2016): 215–19.

(18.) Alison McQueen, Empress Eugénie and the Arts: Politics and Visual Culture in the Nineteenth Century (Farnham, UK; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2011), 271–87.

(19.) Henri Malherbe, Carmen (Paris: Albin Michel, 1951), 190.

(20.) Wright, Dossier, vi.

(21.) Macdonald, Bizet, 226.

(22.) The initial reception of Carmen is discussed at length elsewhere. See, for example, Wright, Dossier; Wright, “Carmen and the Critics;” Susan McClary, Georges Bizet, Carmen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992).

(23.) Wright cites thirty-five performances between March and June 1875, and another thirteen between November 1875 and February 1876. Wright, “Carmen and the Critics,” 51; Curtiss, Bizet and His World, 427.

(24.) For a list of Carmen’s national premieres, see Alfred Loewenberg, Annals of Opera, 1597–1940, 3rd ed. (London: J. Calder, 1978), col. 1043–44.

(25.) This Italian version was first performed in Saint Petersburg in February 1878. Edgar Istel reflected on the differences between the original and the version with recitatives in his 1921 article: Edgar Istel and Janet Wylie Istel, trans., “Carmen: Novel and Libretto; A Dramaturgic Analysis,” Musical Quarterly 7, no. 4 (1921): 493–510.

(26.) Ludovic Halévy, “La Millième Représentation de Carmen,” Le Théâtre 145 (January [I] 1905): 12.

(27.) Loewenberg, Annals of Opera, 1597–1940; John W. Klein, “Bizet’s Admirers and Detractors,” Music & Letters 19, no. 4 (October 1938): 410.

(28.) Karen Henson also links the increased interest in realism to the brief moment of French Naturalism on the 1890s operatic stage. Henson, Opera Acts, 50–51. For a useful discussion of the difficulty of defining verismo and naturalism in relation to opera of this period, see Steven Huebner, “La Princesse Paysanne du Midi,” in Music, Theater, and Cultural Transfer, ed. Fauser and Everist, 364.

(29.) Hervé Lacombe, “La Réception de l’oeuvre dramatique de Bizet en Italie,” Mélanges de l’école française de Rome 108, no. 1 (1996): 192–93; Sergio Viglino, La fortuna italiana della Carmen di Bizet (1879–1900) (Torino: EDT, 2003), 65–82. Lacombe quotes from Rodolfo Celletti’s article on “Verismo” in Enciclopedia dello spettacolo (Rome, 1962).

(30.) Lacombe, “La Réception,” 171–72, 182–83.

(31.) See Michael Christoforidis, “Serenading Spanish Students on the Streets of Paris: The International Projection of Estudiantinas in the 1870s,” Nineteenth-Century Music Review 15, no. 1 (2017): 23–36.

(32.) “Nuestros Grabados: La Estudiantina española en París; La quincena parisien,” Ilustración española y americana 22, no. 10 (1878): 171, 74; “Paris: La Estudiantina española dando serenata en la plaza de la Ópera,” Ilustración española y americana 22, no. 11 (1878): 187; “D. Ildefonso de Zabaleta y D. Joaquin de Castaneda, presidente y vicepresidente de la estudiantina española en Paris,” Ilustración española y americana 22, no. 12 (1878): 213, 215.

(33.) Ignacio M. de Narvarte, “Le Estudiantina española,” Euskal Erria 72 (1915): 170–73.

(34.) The anachronisms of the uniforms were noted by some of the Spanish and foreign press in 1878. Some estudiantinas or tunas wear variants of this dress to the present day.

(35.) La correspondencia de España, 12 March 1878, cited in Félix O. Martín Sárraga, “Crónica del viaje de la Estudiantina Española al Carnaval de París de 1878 según la prensa de la época,” accessed 24 April 2015, http://tunaemundi.com/index.php/component/content/article/7-tunaemundi-cat/166-cronica-del-viaje-de-la-estudiantina-espanola-al-carnaval-de-paris-de-1878-segun-la-prensa-de-la-epoca. Oller went on to found famous Parisian entertainment venues in the late 1880s, including the Moulin Rouge and the Olympia. For further information on estudiantinas see also Félix O. Martín Sárraga, Mitos y evidencia histórica sobre las tunas y estudiantinas (Lima: Cauces, 2016).

(36.) This performance occurred between renditions of the second act of Flotow’s Marta and the second and third acts of Verdi’s Ernani. Édouard Noël and Edmond Stoullig, “Théâtre-Italien,” Les Annales du théâtre et de la musique [1878] 4 (1879): 201–2.

(37.) Revue et gazette musicale de Paris 45 (1878): 78.

(38.) Professional estudiantinas were also present in Spain, although the Estudiantina española helped consolidate the tradition of the university estudiantina and the festive visits of such groups to cities within the Iberian peninsula. It also gave the impetus for the formation of amateur groups by Spaniards in the Americas.

(39.) “Affairs in France (From Our Own Correspondent) Paris, March 4,”; text from Le Figaro, translated in La correspondencia de España, 10 March 1878, cited in Martín Sárraga, “Crónica del viaje.”

(40.) La correspondencia de España, 10 March 1878; “Les Étudiants espagnols: Troisième Journée,” Le Gaulois (Paris), 7 March 1878.

(41.) Montserrat Bergadá, “Les Pianistes catalans à Paris entre 1875 et 1925” (Thèse doctorat, Université François Rabelais, 1997), 55.

(42.) Ibid., 57.

(43.) Édouard Fournier, “Revue dramatique,” [unknown], 12 August 1878, Ro. 12314, Bibliothèque nationale de France. Fournier referred to the famous travelogue by Jean Charles Davillier, illustrated by Gustave Doré, L’Espagne (Paris: Hachette, 1874).

(44.) Noël and Stoullig, “Théâtre-Italien,” 96–211. The Théâtre Italien operated in Paris from 1801 until the company folded in 1878 for want of sufficient audience after the closure of the Exposition.

(45.) Ibid., 209–10.

(46.) The company of the Opéra-Comique performed in a theatre known as the Salle Favart throughout the nineteenth century, although it was rebuilt twice during this period.

(47.) “En la sala de audiciones del señor Zozaya,” La época, 17 April 1883, 2, cited in María Encina Cortizo and Ramón Sobrino, “Los salones musicales madrileños: Nuevos espacios sociales para el cultivo de la música de concierto en la segunda mitad del XIX,” Ad Parnassum: A Journal of Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Instrumental Music 13, no. 25 (2015): 235.

(48.) For a detailed account of Mauri’s career, see Ferran Canyameres and Josep Iglésies, La Dansarina Roseta Mauri (1850–1923) (Reus, Spain: Edicions Rosa de Reus, 1971).

(49.) See Michael Christoforidis, “Reimagining the Reconquista: Massenet’s Le Cid and the 1900 Exposition Universelle,” in The Eighteenth-Century Italian Opera Seria: Metamorphoses of the Opera in the Imperial Age, ed. Petr Macek and Jana Perutková (Prague: KLP, Koniasch Latin Press, 2013), 264–71.

(50.) See Adolphe Jullien, “Académie nationale de musique: Patrie et Le Cid,” Le Théâtre 41 (September 1900 I): 4–8.

(51.) Luis G. Iberni, Pablo Sarasate (Madrid: Instituto Complutense de Ciencias Musicales, D.L., 1994), 153.

(52.) Among mixed reviews, few critics thought it had any merit—indeed one declared it “pale and a bit odd.” El liberal, 9 October 1887; El imparcial, 4 April 1887; “Sociedad de conciertos,” El diario éspañol (Madrid), 3 April 1887; “Sociedad de conciertos,” El imparcial (Madrid), 4 April 1887.

(53.) G. O., “Setimo concierto del Príncipe Alfonso,” La correspondencia musical 1, no. 16 (1881): 3–4. Iberni identifies G.O. as R. Gil. Osorio. Iberni, Pablo Sarasate: 78n6.

(54.) Charles de Sivry, “Reprise de Carmen,” Ville de Paris, 23 April 1883, 2, quoted in Lesley Wright, “Rewriting a Reception: Thoughts on Carmen in Paris, 1883,” Journal of Musicological Research 28, no. 4 (2009): 292.

(55.) Wright, “Rewriting a Reception,” 293.

(56.) The Gran Teatre del Liceu is referred to by its Catalan name (rather than the Spanish Liceo) although the Teatro Lírico (Sala Beethoven) is given its more commonly used Spanish title.

(57.) Critics speculated that, occurring at the very end of the season, the four performances of Carmen were given almost as an afterthought, perhaps at Galli-Marié’s insistence. El correo catalan (Barcelona), 1 August 1881, 2.

(58.) Diario de Barcelona (edición de la tarde), 5 August 1881, 1.

(59.) El correo catalan, 5 August 1881, 1; J. Rodoreda, “La Carmen, de Bizet,” La ilustració catalana 2, no. 40 (1881): 326.

(60.) La renaixensa (Diari de Catalunya) (Barcelona), 11 August 1881, 2–3; Diario de Barcelona, 11 August 1881.

(61.) Curtiss, Bizet and His World, 430.

(62.) Ibid., 429; Halévy, “La Millième Représentation de Carmen.”

(63.) Curtiss, Bizet and His World, 432–34; Wright, “Rewriting a Reception,” 285.

(64.) Ibid., 431–32.

(65.) Wright, “Rewriting a Reception,” 293n40.

(66.) Édouard Noël and Edmond Stoullig, “Théâtre Nationale de l’Opéra-Comique,” Les Annales du théâtre et de la musique [1883] 9 (1884): 83; Alphonse Duvernoy, “Musique,” La République française, 31 October 1883, 3, quoted in Wright, “Rewriting a Reception,” 293.

(67.) Curtiss, Bizet and His World, 434; Noël and Stoullig, “Théâtre Nationale de l’Opéra-Comique.”

(68.) Édouard Beaudu, “La Carmencita,” La Presse (Paris), 26 September 1905, 1.

(69.) Un monsieur de l’orchestre [Arnold Mortier], “La Soirée théâtrale: Galli-Marié dans Carmen,” Le Figaro (Paris), 28 October 1883, 3. We are indebted to Lesley Wright for sharing this review with us.

(70.) “[E]‌lle s’avançait en se balançant sur se hanches comme une pouliche du haras de Cordoue.” This much-quoted phrase is found in Chapter 3 of Mérimée’s Carmen but was quoted in this instance in Noël and Stoullig, “Théâtre Nationale de l’Opéra-Comique,” 74.

(71.) Félix Duquesnel, “La Quinzaine Théâtrale,” Le Théâtre 145 (January [I]‌ 1905: 4. Our emphasis.

(72.) The Opéra finally staged part of Carmen in 1900, when act 2 was performed at a gala on 11 November. The entire work was presented at the Opéra at a gala on 29 December 1907, and then played with Guiraud’s recitatives on 10 November 1959. Spire Pitou, The Paris Opéra: An Encyclopedia of Operas, Ballets, Composers and Perfomer; Growth and Grandeur, 1815–1914; A–L, vol. 3 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1990), 201.

(73.) This was not Galli-Marié’s finest hour, as she apparently found it hard to recover from some kind of vocal mishap and appeared too old and tired for the demands of the role after several years in retirement. Adolphe Jullien, “Mme Galli-Marié,” Le Théâtre 164 (October [II] 1905): 4.

(74.) Noël and Stoullig, “Théâtre Nationale de l’Opéra-Comique,” Les Annales du théâtre et de la musique [1891] 16 (1891): 119–20. This performance seems to have used the Guiraud recitatives. Nicole Wild and David Charlton, Théâtre de l’Opéra-Comique Paris: Répertoire 1762–1927 (Sprimont: Mardaga, 2005), 178.