Aragonaise, Intermezzo, and Séguedille from Carmen Suite No. 1


            Early critics of the opera deemed the score “unplayable,” while others complained that the orchestra dominated the singers.  Now, of course, everyone appreciates Bizet’s colorful, but relatively light, orchestration, and his real ear for tonal color that well suits the opera’s Spanish setting.  Even the master of orchestration himself, Richard Strauss, recommended students of the subject to Carmen, not Wagner.  The “Aragonaise,” the “Entr’acte” to Act IV, features exotic percussion and vigorous dance rhythms.  The “Intermezzo” is the “Entr’acte” to Act III, is a delicate solo for flute and harp.  The “Séguedille” is from Act I, where Carmen, jailed for slashing a co-worker’s face, tries to seduce her captor, Don José, and effect her escape.

--Wm. E. Runyan

© 2015 William E. Runyan