Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Love Triangles and Betrayal in Carmen Essay

The creation of operas from pre-existing literary texts is a composite plant do by implicating the schoolmaster author, the librettists, the opera chargeors, the publishers, and the composer. In the process of trans weeation, the involved parties consider prevailing cultural values as hearty as their own artistic ideals. These considerations weigh all the a good deal severely on the process when the literary text involves complex romantic descents. Georges Bizets Carmen (1875), Giuseppe Verdis Otello (1887), and Claude Debussys Pelleas et Melisande (1902) provide ex antiophthalmic factorles of this transformation process.In all third of these leans, heat triangles figure prominently. These whop triangles, though they shargon some cargonless similarities, are extraordinarily unalike in terms of their composition and the crowning(prenominal) fate of the char exploiters. Carmen When the directors of the Opera-Comique, a venue with repertoire typically geared towards an extremely conservative, family-oriented, bourgeois audience (McClary, 1992, p. 15-16), fit out Bizet to write an opera in 1872, Bizet suggested succeed Merimees novel Carmen as a possible subject (Macdonald, 2010).The directors of the Opera-Comique were divided in their support of this work as a subject for an opera. De Leuven, in particular, was against this choice, citing the scandalous nature of the story and the conservative nature of the venues target audience as reasons privy his disapproval Carmen The Carmen of Merimee? Wasnt she mangle by her passionatenessr? At the Opera-Comique, the theatre of families, of wedding parties? You would put the cosmos to flight. No, no, impossible. (as cited in Jenkins, 2003). Indeed, it appears that the on-stage conclusion was of particular consternation for the director Death on the stage of the Opera-ComiqueSuch a thing has never been seen Never (as cited in Nowinski, 1970, p. 895). The choice of Carmen crowning(prenominal)ly assembleed a role in de Leuvens resignation from his post in 1874 (McClary, 1992, p. 23). The source text for Carmen is a novella by prevail Merimee. The author schoolmasterly published this work in 1845 in the Revue des deux mondes, a non-fiction journal. The author had previously published travelogues in the same journal, and this work contained no indication that it was a work of fiction (Boynton, 2003). Instead, the work reads as a on-key story of Merimees voyage to Spain in 1830.In the midst of his travels, the author-narrator encounters Don Jose, the man who, by and by succumbing to Carmens seductive powers, kills her in a jealous rage side by side(p) her confession of a love affair with Lucas. The librettists for Carmen, Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halevy, at the epoch that they were commissioned to write this work for the Opera-Comique had already successfully worked together as a police squad on a number of works (including Offenbachs La Belle Helene and La Vie parisie nne) for the Parisian boulevard theatres (McClary, 1992, p. 18).In their previous librettos, the team had split the work Meilhac wrote the prose dialogue, and Halevy supplied the verse (McClary, 1992, p. 18). In operatic settings, the prose would typically be left as speak dialogue (for the Opera-Comique) or set as recitative. In transforming Merimees novella into a libretto, Meilhac and Halevy make numerous changes. Unfortunately, in that location is a lack of primary source evidence detailing the minutiae of the collaborative process which would shed further light upon the reasons behind these changes (Jenkins, 2003).These changes include minimizing Carmens criminal activities, adding the character of Micaela, and eliminating Merimees bod device. The removal of Merimees framing device (accomplished by non including a narrator) and the introduction of Don Jose in the lead his downfall hold up Carmen, and non Don Jose, the focus of the story (Jenkins, 2003). Indeed, the Carme n of the libretto, with her interpreter not being interrupted by the narrators commentary, speaks at one time to the audience (McClary, 1992, p. 21).Carmen was composed as a intravenous feeding-act opera comique, victorly with spoken dialogue (as opposed to recitative). The dialogue was transformed into recitative by Guiraud for a drudgery in Vienna, and it was performed this way for many years before producers reverted to Bizets original spoken text (Macdonald, 2010). Further changes to Merimees original resulted from Guirauds involvement. Meilhacs original dialogues at times quoted directly from Merimees Carmen, and these instances of direct mention were for the most part eliminated in Guirauds version (McClary, 1992, p.45). With the addition of Micaela, the librettists created a moralisation character, the polar opposite of Carmen, with whom the Opera-Comique audiences could readily identify (McClary, 1992, p. 21). The addition of Micaela complicates the love triangle. In Merimees original, the love triangle included the characters of Carmen, Don Jose, and Lucas. In the operatic version, both Don Jose and Escamillo are in love with Carmen, and both Carmen and Micaela are in love with Don Jose. The librettists withal substantially changed Carmens character.though they downplayed Carmens involvement in criminal activities (she is no longer the attractor of the smugglers as Merimee portrayed her) arguably in order to make her more(prenominal) sympathetic, they focus almost exclusively on her sexuality (to the exclusion of her improve powers and intelligence as presented in the original) (McClary, 1992, p. 22). Bizets medicament underlines the differences in characters and underlines the complex nature of the interlocking love triangles in the opera. Micaela is presented as a sweet, pure, simple woman.Her entrance is conventional, and her medical specialty is marked by neither intense chromaticism nor indications of exoticness (McClary, 1997, p. 120). Carmens entrance, in contrast, disrupts the formal procedures Bizet set up from the beginning of the opera, and her music is largely chromatic and marked with features typically associated with the exotic (McClary, 1997, p. 120). Her music, like her carcass and personality, is irresistible to any man she sets her sights on. Don Joses music is variant from that of both of his female admirers. His melodic lines are long, irregularly phrased, and lacking in regular cadences (McClary, 1997, p.124). Additionally, he, unlike Escamillo, lacks a signature melodic line (McClary, 1997, p. 127). McClary points to the mutual exclusiveness of Carmens and Don Joses tuneful styles as evidence of the ultimate failure of their relationship. In contrast, Carmens brief duet with Escamillo in act four seems sincere because their musical styles are compatible (McClary, 1997, p. 125). Ultimately, Don Jose kills Carmen in a fit of jealousy over her relationship with Escamillo, and Micaela is dep rived of her true love as he gives himself up to the police following his murder of Carmen. Otellothough the cardinal Shakespeare aficionados Giuseppe Verdi and Arrigo Boito met as early as 1862, it was not until 1879 that the events trail to the composition of Otello were set in motion (Aycock, 1972, p. 594). The four-act Otello received its premiere on February 5, 1887 in Milan. In transforming the play into opera libretto, Boito eliminated six of the fourteen characters and brush aside the entire first act (Aycock, 1972, p. 595). Boito also neglect Othellos controversy of self-defence following his murder of Desdemona from the end of the play (Aycock, 1972, p. 596). This blend restrict serves to keep the operas focus on the tragic love story.This love story asteriskly revolves well-nigh the actions of Othello, Desdemona, and Iago. When the opera opens, Desdemona and Othello are newly married. However, Roderigo (Iagos friend) still loves Desdemona. Iago, upset with Cassi o who has been promoted over him, fabricates substantiation of Desdemonas unfaithfulness with Cassio in order to play on Othellos jealous nature. The proof of this infidelity, in both the play and the opera, is a handkerchief. Othello murders Desdemona, and when he learns that his belief in his wifes infidelity was mistaken, he kills himself.In this story, both Roderigo and Othello are in love with Desdemona. Given Roderigos minimal role in the opera, that, Iago takes his place in the dramatic situation of the love triangle. It is his betrayal and conjuration that leads to the demise of the 2 main characters. The end of the first act contains a conventional love duet amongst Othello and Desdemona. As Aycock (1972, p. 595) remarks, the love between these two trader characters is mature and predicated on confidence in separately others fidelity. The climax of this love duet, on the words un bacioOtelloun bacio, features a new melody in the orchestra. This melody reappears yet in the last act, most notably when Othello commits suicide (Lawton, 1978, p. 211). The character of Iago in the opera is much more the creation of Verdi and Boito than of Shakespeare. Iagos Credo, where he proclaims his devotion to a poisonous God and admits that he is unquestionably evil, was entirely the invention of Boito (Aycock, 1972, p. 600). For Verdi, the emphasis on this character allowed him to confirm to Italian operatic tradition, which called for a baritone villain role (Aycock, 1972, p. 601).Pelleas et Melisande Maurice Maeterlincks play Pelleas et Melisande received its Parisian premiere at the Theatre des Bouffes-Parisiens on May 17, 1893, and Claude Debussy was in attendance (Grayson, 1985, p. 35, 37). By the fall of the same year, he had already begun composing what would later buzz off Act IV shaft 4 (Grayson, 1985, p. 37). In the case of this operatic transformation, there was no librettist acting as a middle-man. Instead, Debussy constructed the libretto hi mself, from Maeterlincks original text. The composer remained true to the original play, changing nary a word.He did, however, cut some scenes, and these cuts were made with the Maeterlincks authorization. In November 1893, the composer travelled to Ghent to neat with the author, and the two men discussed several possible cuts. Debussy reported to Ernest Chausson that Maeterlinck had given him set down authorization to make cuts and even indicated some which were actually important, even very useful (as cited in Grayson, 1985, p. 37). From Maeterlincks original play, there were only four scenes that Debussy did not set Act I scene 1, Act II scene 4, Act III scene 1, and Act V scene 1 (Grayson, 1985, p.38). These scenes appear to have been cut because they are unrelated to the of import level, leading to the demise of both Pelleas and Melisande. While Debussy used Maeterlincks original text, he did, in some instances, cut some of the text to make the libretto more concise. Act I II scene 3, for example, was cut so heavily so that only one third of the original text remained (Grayson, 1985, p. 40). devil further cuts came in 1902. During Pelleas et Melisandes first season at the Opera-Comique, Debussy was pressure to cut one scene from the performances Act IV scene 3 (Grayson, 1985, p.39). This almost purely symbolic scene features Yniold (Golauds son from a previous marriage). At the end of the scene, Yniold, wishing to share his experiences with Melisande, unwittingly reveals to Golaud that she is not in her mode (Grayson, 2003, p. 76) in essence, he signals her disloyalty to her husband. The scene was reinserted in its encourage season. Also, at the dress rehearsal, the Director of Fine Arts, censored the work, calling for the suppression of Act III scene 4, a scene where Yniold is forced, by his ruby father, to spy on the suspected lovers (Grayson, 2003, p.80). Pelleas et Melisande begins with Golaud discovering Melisande by a fountain in a forest . She seems to be lost and confused, and she follows Golaud on his wanderings. The two get married in secret and return to the castle of Golauds father. There, Melisande meets Golauds buddy Pelleas, and these two fall in love. In one scene, Golaud happens upon Pelleas caressing Melisandes hair streaming out from a tower window, and he realizes that his sidekick has betrayed him. Golaud, blind with jealousy, kills his brother in Act III.At the end of the opera, Melisande also dies, still not before giving birth to a daughter. The plot, then, revolves around the love triangle of Melisande, Golaud, and Pelleas. The unquestioning inclusion of on-stage deaths demonstrates how much the Opera-Comique had changed since the 1875 premiere of Carmen. From the time of Debussys first draft of Act IV scene 4 in the fall of 1893, it took almost a decade for the opera to dig the stage of the Opera-Comique. Debussy worked intensely on the opera in 1895 and completed a short score of the opera in August of that year (Grayson, 2003, p.78). though he had a completed opera, he had major difficulties finding a suitable venue for the performance of the work. Albert Carre, the director of the Opera-Comique, accepted Pelleas in principal in 1898, but he did not give Debussy written deterrent of the deal until 1901 (Grayson, 2003, p. 79). Though Debussy was ambivalent about Wagnerian leitmotive techniques, he does employ leitmotivs in Pelleas. While most of these leitmotivs are connected to ideas, all(prenominal) major character has his or her own leitmotiv (Nichols and Smith, 1989, p.81). Melisandes motive, for example, is comparatively lyrical, wandering, and typically played by oboes or flutes while Golauds motive consists of two notes in alteration with a more pronounced rhythmic emphasis. These motives are typically associated with dissimilar harmonic fields. Melisandes melody is pentatonic but is typically harmonized with a half diminished seventh consort (Nichold and Sm ith, 1989, p. 91). Golauds motive, because of its sparse melodic line consisting of only two notes, is more harmonically flexible.Debussy uses it in a variety of harmonic contexts including whole-tone, dorian, and minor. Comparison of whole kit and boodle These three works present a widely diverse hear of operatic life in late nineteenth century France and Italy. In terms of source texts, there is a novella (Carmen), a play in verse (Otello), and a play in prose (Pelleas et Melisande). In two of the cases (Carmen and Otello), neither the composer nor the librettist knew the author of the original literary work. In the case of Pelleas, the composer had direct contact with the original author and constructed the libretto himself.These three operas were then composed in different forms an opera comique in versions with both spoken dialogue and strain recitative (Carmen), a hybrid of continuous action with set pieces (Otello), and a largely through-composed work with one aria (Pelleas ). In each instance, the transformation process reveals that it was not only the librettist and composer who were involved in the operas ultimate form opera directors, publishers, and censors also had some hand in the final product. unity shared sign amongst these three works was the need for the librettist to cut long amounts of literary material from the original text.This phenomenon is understandable given that it takes a advantageously longer period of time to sing a text quite than say it. In choosing sections of texts to cut, the librettists were faced with the challenge of leaving enough of the narrative design so that it would remain comprehensible to the audience. The composer could then use musical devices to fill in some of the gaps that this missing text created. For example, Bizet could use different musical styles to highlight differences in race and class (McClary, 1997).Similarly, Debussy could use different harmonic languages (whole tone, pentatonic, modal) to indicate subtly differences in the quality of light (Nichols and Smith, 1989). A second shared trait is that two of the composers appear to have made decisions based on operatic convention in their composition of the opera. Bizets concession to operatic convention takes the form of the introduction of the character of Micaela, a character absent from Merimees original but whose presence, as mentioned above, was deemed prerequisite to make the work suitable for the conservative Opera-Comique audience.Verdis concessions are apparent in the finale to Act 3, where he asked Boito to alter the libretto to make room for a traditional grand concertato finale (Parker, 2010) as well as in the changes to Iagos character mentioned above. A third shared trait is that these three works focus on love triangles, with an act of betrayal or jealousy leading to the deaths of one or more of the principal characters. In Carmen, the primary love triangle revolves around Carmen, Don Jose, and Escamillo. In the end, Carmen dies.In Otello, the love triangle of Othello, Desdemona, and Roderigo has a tragic ending with the death of both Othello and Desdemona. Similarly, the Pelleas-Melisande-Golaud triangle results in the death of two of the characters Pelleas and Melisande. In each case, the composer highlights one of the romantic relationships as being more viable or more sincere than the others. Bizet, as noted, employs different musical styles for each of the characters, with only Escamillos language being compatible with Carmens.Verdi wrote a traditional love duet for Othello and Desdemona, the sincerity of which is highlighted with its aforementioned reappearance in the final act. Debussy employs a technique similar to that of Bizet he has Pelleas and Melisande sing together in octaves in Act IV scene 4). The similarities between the presentations of the love triangles stops with this characteristic, for the relationship dynamics within the central triangles are quite different in these works. In Carmen, the title character is both the primary female love interest and the character responsible for the betrayal.She betrays Don Joses love for her, however ill-founded it may be, by confessing her love for Escamillo. In contrast to the other operatic heroines studied here, Carmen is a femme-fatale. In Verdis Otello, the love between Othello and Desdemona is sincere, and neither one carries on an affair with someone else. The primary reason behind their deaths is Iagos treachery. However, Othello does, in a sense, betray Desdemona by believing Iagos lies. His acknowledgment of this betrayal can be seen in his committing suicide. In Debussys Pelleas, the guilty party is less clearly identified.Melisande, though she betrays her marriage by falling in love with Pelleas, is not depicted as a femme fatale. Instead, she is presented as an innocent, idealized woman (Smith, 1981, p. 105). Pelleas betrays his brother by having an affair with his wife. Though Debussy, as mentioned above, sympathizes with their love and highlights the love Pelleas and Melisande have for each other by having them sing together in octaves. It appears that these characters are not to be held accountable for their actions because their love was inevitable, foretold in advance by fate.? References Aycock, R. E. (1972). Shakespeare, Boito, and Verdi. The Musical Quarterly, 58 (4), 588-604. Boynton, S. (2003) Prosper Merimees novella Carmen. New York City Opera Project Carmen. Retrieved from http//www. columbia. edu/itc/music/NYCO/carmen/merimee. html Grayson, D. (1985). The Libretto of Debussys Pelleas et Melisande. Music and Letters, 66 (1), 35-50. Grayson, D. (2003). Debussy on stage. In The Cambridge play along to Debussy. Ed. Simon Trezise. Cambridge Cambridge University Press, pp. 61-83. Jenkins, C. (2003). Carmen The Librettists.New York City Opera Project Carmen. Retrieved from http//www. columbia. edu/itc/music/NYCO/carmen/librettists. html Lawton, D. (1978). On the Bacio theme in Otello. 19th-Century Music, 1 (3), 211-220. Macdonald, H. (2010). Carmen (ii). Grove Online. Retrieved from http//www. oxfordmusiconline. com/ proofreader/article/ plantation/music/O008315? q=carmen&search=quick&pos=22&_start=1firsthit McClary, S. (1992). Georges Bizet, Carmen. Cambridge Cambridge University Press. McClary, S. (1997). Structures of identity and difference in Bizets Carmen.In The fit of Opera Genre, Nationhood, and Sexual Difference. Ed. Richard Dellamora and Daniel Fischlin. New York Columbia University Press, pp. 115-130. Nichols, R. & Smith, R. L. (1989). Claude Debussy, Pelleas et Melisande. Cambridge Cambridge University Press. Nowinski, J. (1970). Sense and vigorous in George Bizets Carmen. The French Review, 43 (6), 891-900. Parker, R. (2010). Otello (ii). Grove Music Online. Retrieved from http//www. oxfordmusiconline. com/subscriber/article/grove/music/O003882>. Smith, R. L. (1981).

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