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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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Carmen’s Music-Hall Embrace

Carmen’s Music-Hall Embrace

(p.237) Chapter 8 Carmen’s Music-Hall Embrace
Carmen and the Staging of Spain

Michael Christoforidis

Oxford University Press

The fluidity between the worlds of opera and popular entertainment during the Belle Époque admitted Carmen and her Spanish impersonators into music hall and popular theatrical spectacle in the early years of the twentieth century. Chapter 8 explores the hybrid Franco-Spanish entertainment scene in Paris, examining the presence of Carmenesque themes in the chanson market, in the context of a significant subgenre of Spanish-styled songs. During the years leading up to World War I, this new Spanish fashion extended onto the stage in dance-focused Spanish spectacles, which blended new and old styles and often played with references to Bizet’s famous opera. Carolina “la Belle” Otero reached the final stage of her stellar career with a rare—although not unprecedented—transition from music-hall Carmen to operatic protagonist, performing the role at the Opéra-Comique in 1912.

Keywords:   Carmen, Paris, chanson, Opéra-Comique, music hall, Carolina “la Belle” Otero, Ballets Russes, Alhambra Theatre (London), pantomime, Spanish dance

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