“Les voici la quadrille” from Carmen

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            Georges Bizet’s Carmen is at least partial evidence for the old observation that the French have written some of the best Spanish-flavored music.  A composer of stunning talent, Bizet tragically died at the early age of only thirty-seven, three months after the première of his signature work.  In the opera, set in Seville, Escamillo the bullfighter competes with the soldier, Don José, for the love of the fiery Carmen, a cigarette maker (and smoker!)  Carmen is amusing herself in a dangerous game, playing the two arrogant and vainful men against each other, in a constant atmosphere of possible violence.   Act IV of the opera, which ends in Escamillo’s murder of Carmen, begins innocuously enough with the colorful entry of Escamillo and his retinue into the town square, on their way to the bullring.  The townspeople hail his arrival with the chorus, "Les voici! Voici la quadrille."

--Wm. E. Runyan

© 2015 William E. Runyan