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Carmen

Carmen is a French Opera composed by Bizet but for the libretto (which was written by Meilhac and Halevy). The story is based on a work by Prosper Mérimée with the same title.

The opera was premiered at the Opera Comique of Paris on March 3, 1875. For a year after its premiere, it was considered a failure, denounced by critics as "immoral" and "superficial". Today, it is one of the world's most popular operas and it is really a pity that Bizet did not live long enough to learn about its success (Bizet died in 1875).

The story concerns the eponymous Carmen, a beautiful gypsy with a fiery temper. Not careful with her love, she is responsible for the downfall of many men. She woos the corporal Don José, leading him to mutiny against his superior. His infatuation causes him to join a band of smugglers, of which Carmen is a member. He is happy with Carmen for a brief period, but is driven to madness when she turns from him to the bullfighter Escamillo.

Horowitz made a famous transcription (exist in different versions) which he never put down to score and performed it frequently. It is a set of variation on a famous theme from Carmen and really technical demanding (as one would expect from a virtuoso as Horowitz). Wui-Ming Gan's transcription is an amalgamation of Horowitz's different versions.

Variations on a theme from Bizet's Carmen
4:10
Gan, W.M.