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

Impersonating Carmen in Victorian London

(p.54) Chapter 2 Impersonating Carmen in Victorian London
Carmen and the Staging of Spain

Michael Christoforidis

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 considers the importance of Carmen’s early productions in London in light of long-standing local interest in Spanish-themed song and dance. The success of the opera’s 1878 debut at Her Majesty’s Theatre, starring the young American singer Minnie Hauk in a dramatic interpretation of the title role, led to numerous stagings, including translation into English, and A delina Patti’s failed impersonation of Carmen. These productions were accompanied by a proliferation of parodies over the ensuing decade, most notably the two-act Gaiety burlesque, Carmen Up to Data (1890). This successful comic entertainment illustrates how the opera’s distinctive characters, plot, and Spanish color could become a vehicle for localized humor on the popular stage.

Keywords:   Carmen, London, Minnie Hauk, opera in English, burlesque/parody, Her Majesty’s Theatre (London), Gaiety Theatre (London), Adelina Patti

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