CARMEN Student Guide | Opera Company of Philadelphia

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Opera Company of Philadelphia and the School District of Philadelphia present

Carmen Georges Bizet’s

Final Dress Rehearsal Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. at the Academy of Music


A Family Guide to

The Opera Company of Philadelphia believes the family is the most important foundation to learning. Let your kitchen table become a classroom where your children can build their knowledge of opera and the humanities. As you join in the teaching and learning process with your children, watch their eyes sparkle. Opera is a communal celebration, so too should be your children’s education. Pennsylvania’s standards in education call for students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do and children need to share what they have discovered or learned. Thus, the title of our program is Sounds of Learning™. It reflects our belief that children must actively be engaged in sharing ideas. The Sounds of Learning™ workbook and teacher guide will integrate with the local core literacy curriculum in many ways. Just as opera is a uniquely integrated art, combining orchestra, voice, literature, drama, and dance, Sounds of Learning™ is an interdisciplinary, student-centered program. The goal of the Active Learning sections is to have your children engaged in the process of selfteaching. They will be able to show how they have gained insights into their learning by drawing, writing, and discussing the issues most relevant to them. In this way, students demonstrate what they can do with what they know. In reading the libretto, or script, we suggest that you and your family members take turns reading particular roles. Dr. Ellen Winner of Harvard’s Project Zero found that “drama helps to build verbal skills that transfer to new materials,” and helps improve not only students’ reading skills but also “oral and written language development.” (Journal of Aesthetic Education, v34, #3/4, Fall/Winter, 2000.) In preparing for the opera, we suggest you purchase one of EMI Classics’s excellent audio or video recordings of this opera. We are grateful to EMI Classics for offering us their libretti for use in our program. Together, we hope to build future audiences for, and performers of, the arts. Visit EMI on the web at

Goals and Objectives of Sounds of Learning™ • Improve literacy achievement by using the opera’s libretto to teach lessons across the curriculum • Understand the plot, characters, and their motivations of the opera • Learn something about the composer and others involved in writing the opera • Make a connection to the historic and social context of the story • Know some key musical elements, recognize certain melodies, differentiate between voices • Understand the role music plays in expressing emotions and heightening the dramatic experience • Understand the various elements of producing opera and the functions of those involved; e.g. conductor, director, set designer, technical crew, etc. • Develop the ability to make inferences about the opera, production, and performance. • Relate incidents in the opera to those of the present day

Best Practices in Arts Education is sponsored by Pennsylvania Alliance for Arts Education, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Table of Contents Opera 101: Getting Ready for the Opera 2 3 4 5 5 5 6

Opera Company of Philadelphia Philadelphia’s Academy of Music Tips for Your Trip Opera - Online! The Language of Opera Opera’s Road Map The Then and Now of Opera

Relating Opera to History: The Culture Connection 10 11 12 13

The Man Behind the Music: Georges Bizet What in the World? A Timeline of Important Events The Romani Life: Carmen’s Gypsies The Danger and Drama of Bullfighting

Libretto and Production Information 14 15 16

Carmen: Disaster to Triumph Carmen: Synopsis Carmen: Libretto


Discovering My Inner Conquistador!

A Student’s Story By Hanna Smith, Wilmington Friends School



Check out our website for additional content! Here you’ll find more information on the opera, its themes, lessons, and links to even more fascinating material. See page 5 for more details.

left: mezzo-soprano Rinat Shaham as Carmen production photos courtesy Tim Matheson, Vancouver Opera


Opera Company of Philadelphia To do this we hire the best stage designers. Sets might be built in the Company’s Production Center in the Tacony area of Philadelphia. Sometimes the Opera Company partners with another company to create sets and costumes, or rents a production from another company.

Right: Soprano Ermonela Jaho and tenor Roger Honeywell in Jun Kaneko’s stylized production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Below: Tenor William Burden stars as Hippolyt in Hans Werner Henze’s Phaedra. Photos: Kelly & Massa Photography

For over 30 years the Opera Company of Philadelphia has brought audiences outstanding production quality, artistry and educational opportunities. A strong blend of traditional and innovative programming will continue to ensure the excitement of opera in Philadelphia. Each season over 5,000 students from the Philadelphia area attend an opera through the Sounds of Learning™ program. The Company also hosts community recitals and lectures, internet events, and more. Opera has played a vital part in Philadelphia’s history. The first known opera staged in Philadelphia was Midas in 1769. Since then, opera has been so popular here that there have been several opera companies in the city at the same time! The Opera Company of Philadelphia was created when the Philadelphia Grand Opera Company and the Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company joined in 1975. Since then, the Opera Company of Philadelphia has continued the city’s operatic traditions.

The Opera Company also supports creating new American operas. In recent seasons five new operas have been seen at OCP: Margaret Garner by Richard Danielpour, Cyrano by David DiChiera, Ainadamar by Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov, and Phaedra by Hans Werner Henze. Tea: A Mirror of Soul by Chinese composer Tan Dun, of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon fame, had its East Coast premiere at OCP in February 2010. 2. Find the best young, up-and-coming singers and give them the chance to perform with some of the best professionals in the world. We find the brightest young singers in our own backyard at two of the best opera schools in the world - The Curtis Institute of Music and the Academy of Vocal Arts. Singers from both schools have sung right along side stars like Denyce Graves and Nathan Gunn. 3. Create informative student and adult programs that will introduce opera to newcomers, and enjoyment to both long-time and new opera fans.

Each season, the Opera Company presents five different operas with singers from all over the world. Three of the operas are given in the beautiful, large-scale Academy of Music. With just under 2,900 seats, the Academy is the Opera Company’s home for grand opera. Two smaller, more intimate operas are staged in the Perelman Theater. Located in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the Perelman Theater has only 600 seats, making it the perfect venue for chamber and modern operas. Today, the Opera Company’s mission, or core purpose, is three-fold: 1. Deliver outstanding productions of classic operas, giving them in original and cutting-edge ways, and create exciting new operas that people in Philadelphia’s diverse communities will like.

ACTIVE LEARNING 1. Find out more about the Opera Company of Philadelphia at our website:


Check out for a ton of information about the history of opera in Philadelphia.


Academy of Music You will attend the opera at Philadelphia’s Academy of President Franklin Pierce Music, which is the country’s 1804-1869 oldest grand opera house still used for its original purpose - performing opera! It is a very grand opera house with a huge chandelier hanging from the ceiling. Its four-level design was based on the famous La Scala opera house in Milan, Italy. Finding the money to build an opera house in Philadelphia was difficult, but enough money was raised by 1854. On October 13th a plot of land was bought on the corner of Broad and Locust Streets to build the opera house. In the fall of 1854 fifteen architects entered a competition to see who would design the Academy. On February 12, 1855, the team of Gustav Rungé and Napoleon le Brun won the contest, which included a $400 prize, or about $150,000 today! Within four months, the ground-breaking took place. The project was so important that President Franklin Pierce, along with the governor and mayor, laid the cornerstone on July 26, 1855. The Academy opened on January 26, 1857 with a Grand Ball and Promenade Concert. The first opera presented in the brand new opera house was Giuseppe Verdi’s Il trovatore on February 25, 1857. Two of many operatic highlights throughout the theater’s history include the American premiere of Charles Gounod’s opera Faust on November 18, 1863 and a performance of Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly on February 14, 1907, with the composer in attendance. Numerous presidents have visited the Academy, including Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, and Richard Nixon. Prince Charles of Wales visited the Academy in 2007. Thousands of world-famous performers have also appeared on its stage, like Peter Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, George Gershwin, Igor Stravinsky, Arturo Toscanini, Marian Anderson, Maria Callas, and Luciano Pavarotti. The Academy was made a Registered National Historic Landmark in 1963. Since that time, a few improvements have been made to its structure. The “Twenty-First Century Project”, begun in 1996, replaced the stage floor, rigging system, and restored the historic ceiling. During 2008, the famous

The Academy of Music’s restored chandelier. Photo by Michael Bolton

chandelier was rebuilt to how it looked in 1857. All of these renovations have helped the Academy remain as grand as ever. We hope you find it grand as well!

Academy of Music Facts ›

The auditorium seats 2,897; 14 columns support the Academy’s tiers; the auditorium is encased within a three foot thick solid brick wall.

The Academy Chandelier is 25 feet high, 50 feet in circumference, almost 17 feet in diameter, and 3,500 pounds in weight. It has 23,000 crystals on it, which, if laid out, could reach from Broad Street to Rittenhouse Square and back.

The red and gold pattern on the Academy’s stage curtain simulates that of a pineapple, a Victorian-era symbol for “welcome.”

The first-ever indoor football game was held on the Academy’s Parquet level on March 7, 1889 between the University of Pennsylvania and Riverton Club of Princeton. At halftime, tug-of-war matches were held as entertainment.

1,600 people attended the first-ever motion picture screening on February 5, 1870. The audience saw a couple dancing, a gymnastics routine and more during the silent film.

› ›

Air conditioning was installed in 1959.

There was no elevator for the general public in the Academy until 1990!

For more information on the Academy of Music, go to the library and take out Within These Walls, by John Francis Marion or go online to



Tips for Your Trip

There’s nothing as exciting as attending the opera in a theater like the Academy of Music. You’ll be a guest at the final dress rehearsal of Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen. Here’s what you’ll need to know about attending the opera! You may notice several computer monitors and a large table spread out over the seats in the center of the first floor of the auditorium. Seated in this area is the production team: Director, Assistant Director, Costume Designer, Lighting Designer, and Set Designer, among others. They’ll be taking notes and communicating via headsets with the many people backstage who help make all of the operatic magic happen. They’ll be able to talk to the crew so changes can be made right away. Should things goes wrong, the rehearsal might be stopped or a part repeated to make sure that it is perfect.

ACTIVE LEARNING The picture on this page shows several patrons and famous opera characters on their way to attend an opera at the theater. Now picture yourself in their shoes. On a separate piece of paper, write a story as if you are one of these people. Think about your trip to the performance. What will the opera be like? You may want to mention going to the Academy of Music or attending the opera. What will you wear? How will you and your classmates act? At what time will you meet your classmates? How many classmates will attend? Will you have a special dinner before the opera? If so, where? Will the opera be exciting and entertaining? Share your thoughts here and compare your stories with your classmates.

Here’s a list of DOs and DON’Ts so that everyone in the theater can enjoy the opera:

SHOW SOME R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Unlike actors on television or in the movies, performers onstage are very aware of the audience. They want to share their love of performing with you. Everything you do in the audience affects what happens on stage. You can show them how much you appreciate their work and the opportunity to come to the rehearsal by being as quiet as possible. Show your respect for the cast, musicians, the production team, and everyone in the theater by not talking. Give the artists and the production your full attention!

Please Do...

› › › › › › › › › › › ›

Use the bathrooms before the rehearsal begins or at intermission. Enter and exit the theater in an orderly fashion. Turn off your cell phones and all electronic devices. Applaud after the arias; you can shout “Bravo!” for the men and “Brava!” for the women. Enjoy the rehearsal. You’ve worked too hard preparing for the rehearsal not to!

Don’t Forget... No food, gum or beverages are allowed inside the theater. Photographs or video footage may not be taken during the performance. No talking or whispering during the performance. No shoving, jumping, running, or spitting in the theater. Please obey the theater ushers and staff. Keep all objects to yourself. If you throw something, you might hurt someone and cause a disruption in the rehearsal. It is grounds for removal from the auditorium. MAKE YOUR SCHOOL PROUD!

Opera Online! You might study music in your schools or take lessons privately. But where do you go if you want to learn more about Carmen, opera singers, opera-related topics and experience opera more frequently? Visit OCP’s website at: Here you can find more information about Carmen and all the operas presented by the Opera Company, for FREE!

Opera Right in Your Email Inbox! Another great way to learn more is to sign up for the free weekly Sounds of Learning™ email list. Email your name, school and age to and each week we’ll send you an opera video “clip of the week” with famous opera singers singing great arias and ensembles all throughout the summer. Some will be funny, some will be thrilling, some will be dramatic, and all will be exciting! Also included in the email will be the website of the week. We’ll feature links to singers’ websites, music links, other great music and opera websites. You can build a whole library of video clips to go back to again and again! Share the clips and links with your family and friends.

Sounds of Learning™ Student Blog Don’t forget to check out our Sounds of Learning™ blog at The blog will allow you to discuss the opera with students throughout the tri-state area! Log onto the blog and share your thoughts and views about the opera, the music, the set, the singers, the Academy of Music, coming to center city Philadelphia, the email list “clip of the week” and more! Other students participating in Sounds of Learning™ from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware want to hear what you have to say! Post your comments by going to:

Behind-the-Scenes Photos See photos of the singers in rehearsal on our website: and click on the “Behind the Scenes” link in the lower right corner of the screen. Check out this area to see how a production develops from the first day of rehearsal to opening night!

Also, you can download extra copies of the Sounds of Learning™ guide and past guides from this page as well. All of this content is provided for free! If you’re online, check out our facebook, twitter and YouTube pages. Just search for Opera Company of Philadelphia!



The Language of Opera Act - main sections of a play or opera Aria - a solo song sung in an opera

Audience - people who watch a performance and sit in the “house� or auditorium Ballet - dance set to music within in an opera

Blocking - action on stage Character - person who is part of the opera’s story Chorus - music composed for a group of singers or the name of a group of singers in an opera Conductor - person who rehearses and leads the orchestra Duet - a song performed by 2 singers Orchestra - a group of musicians who play together on various musical instruments Overture - a piece of instrumental music played at the beginning of an opera Program - booklet that contains information about the opera, composer, performers, the opera company, and includes advertisements Recitative - words that are sung in the rhythm of natural speech - a bit like the 18th century version of rap

Rehearsal - time when singers/actors practice with or without the orchestra; time when musicians practice together with the conductor Scene - segments of action within the acts of an opera Types of Singers: Soprano - highest pitched female voice Contralto - low pitched female voice Tenor - highest pitched male voice

Baritone - male voice between tenor and bass Bass - lowest pitched male voice

Opera’s Road Map An opera tells a story by taking you on a musical journey. Like a class trip or vacation, this journey can be separated into land marks and pit stops. While every opera is different, they all follow a similar ARIA road map.

OVERTURE The musical introduction played by the orchestra.


Use the Opera Map Directions below with the Conductor Map on the lower right to trace this musical journey.


Opera Map Directions

ACT I A group of scenes with a common theme. Intermission


Head to the overture. Before the curtain comes up the orchestra plays the overture. The overture is the musical introduction to the opera. It will often have melodies in it that you might hear during the opera.


Continue straight to Act I. After the overture the curtain will rise, and various characters will appear, signaling the start of the opera. Once the opera begins the map begins to vary. Depending on the opera, the music could go one of four ways. Be on the lookout for recitatives, arias or choruses. You might even find a duet or larger ensembles like trios, quartets, quintets, or sextets!


Make a left at the Intermission. The intermission is a 15-25 minute break in the performance when the audience can stretch or use the bathroom. It allows the stage crew to change the scenery for the next act and the singers to change costumes.


ACT II A group of scenes that continues the story from Act I. Act II has the same musical elements as Act I (chorus, recitative, etc.). FINALE The last piece of music performed in the opera. CURTAIN CALL After the curtain closes, the cast and the orchestra stand and take a bow. The audience shows their appreciation by clapping or yelling "Bravo!"

Duet, Trio,t or Quarte


Continue straight to Act II. The next act uses the same elements as Act I to continue the story (arias, choruses, ensembles, and recitatives). Operas may have several acts and intermissions. In some operas there are four intermissions and five acts!


Continue straight across to the Finale. The finale is the last musical piece in the opera and is often sung by the entire cast. Some operas have a big finale for each act. After the finale the curtain goes down.


You have arrived at the Curtain Call. The curtain call occurs at the very end of the opera. The curtain will come back up and the chorus, dancers, individual singers, and orchestra will be recognized for their work. The audience shows their appreciation for the show by clapping or shouting “Bravo!”, “Brava!”, or “Bravissimo!!”

The Then and Now of



Theatrical performances that use music, song and dance to tell a story can be found in many cultures. Opera is just one example of music drama. Have you ever wondered where opera got its start? Back in the late 1500s during the height of the Renaissance, a group of men called the Florentine Camerata got together to create a new and moving theatrical experience. They wanted to recreate what the ancient Greeks did during their legendary dramas. The result was something entirely new – opera! Most of the early operas were based on Greek myths. The first opera that we know of was called Dafne by Jacopo Peri in 1598, but the most famous opera of this early period that is still performed today is Claudio Monteverdi’s Orfeo (1607). Certain basic ingredients were included in opera: songs, instrumental accompaniments, costumes, dance, and scenery. We still use all of these ingredients today! The early operas were first performed in the grand courts of Italian nobility, but soon opera became popular with the public, too. As it became all the rage, productions became more lavish! Soon, theaters began to be built just to mount operas.

Top: mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose as the hero in Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice; Above: Prisoners in their cells in Jun Kaneko’s production of Beethoven’s Fidelio.

These theaters had elaborate stage machinery to create special effects like flying actors Claudio Monteverdi or crumbling buildings. Not 1567-1643 everyone embraced the new form of theater. Some critics thought that all of the stage antics in opera detracted from the music and drama. Some people even believed that seeing too much comedy in opera could make you immoral! During the Baroque period (about 1600 to 1750), Italian opera spread all over Europe. The Italian style of opera was so popular that even non-Italians wrote in this style. For example George Frederic Handel (1685 – 1759) was a German-born composer who lived and worked in England. His operas, like Julius Caesar (1724), were written in the Italian language and used an Italian style of music. The only nation to create its’ own national operatic style was France. Ballet played a large role in the French culture, and operas often included ballets in the middle of the opera. The most famous French Baroque opera composers were JeanBaptiste Lully (1632-1687) and Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683 - 1764). The eighteenth century was full of change for both Europe and opera. This time period was known as the Age of Enlightenment. People were starting to talk about new forms of government and organization in society, especially the ever-growing middle class. Music displayed this new thinking as composers dropped the Baroque era’s complicated musical style for simpler, more emotional music. In less-flashy music, characters could express their thoughts and feelings more believably. One of the first operas to use this new style was Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice (1762). In 1776 the American Revolution changed the world. A few years later the French had their own revolution (1789) and the first modern democracies were born. To match the times in which they were created, audiences wanted to see characters like themselves on stage, not gods and goddesses. They also wanted to see issues that were important to them. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro (1786) featured a timely story of aristocratic class struggles that had both servants and nobility in lead roles. The ideals of the Enlightenment also came to the stage in Ludwig van Beethoven‘s only opera, Fidelio, a story about equality and freedom.

absurd (The Rake’s Progress by Igor Stravinsky, 1951). American opera had a huge hit with George and Ira Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (1935) which included jazz and blues musical styles. Not only did American composers embrace popular music in opera but also a repetitive, hypnotic style called minimalism. American composer Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach (1976) is the popular example of minimalism in opera.

In the 1800s opera continued to grow. The Italian tradition continued in the bel canto movement, which literally translates to “beautiful singing”. These operas asked performers to sing complicated groups of fast notes in the melodies. The most famous bel canto composers were Gioacchino Rossini (1792 –1868), Gaetano Donizetti (1797 – 1848), and Vincenzo Bellini (1801 –1835). Their operas, like Rossini’s popular comedies The Barber of Seville (1816) and Cinderella (1817), are still some of the most popular operas performed today. By the middle of the century, the Romantic Movement led many composers to champion their own national identities. As a result, operas in languages other than Italian became more common; new works often reflected pride in a country’s people, history, and folklore. German operas like Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz (1821), Russian operas like Mikhail Glinka’s A Life for the Tsar (1836) and French operas like Giacomo Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots (1836) started to be performed across Europe. By using nationalism in his operas like Nabucco (1842), Italian Giuseppe Verdi became a national hero. In Germany Richard Wagner took Romanticism to the extreme in a four-part operatic miniseries based on Norse mythology, The Ring of the Nibelung (1876), which takes over 15 hours to perform! The operatic stereotype of the singer in the Viking helmet comes from these operas. Opera in twentieth century became even more experimental. Composers like Giacomo Puccini (La bohème, 1896), Claude Debussy (Pelléas et Mélisande, 1902), Richard Strauss (Salome, 1905), and Benjamin Britten (Peter Grimes, 1945) evolved their national styles. Others, horrified by the destruction of World War I (1914-1919) and other aspects of modern life, created music that was new and drastically dissonant. These operas often explored either dark psychological topics (Wozzeck by Alban Berg, 1925), or simple and

Today, opera is still growing and expanding. The Opera Company of Philadelphia helps to shape the future of opera by producing important new works like Richard Danielpour and Toni Morrison’s slaveryinspired Margaret Garner (2005), Osvaldo Golijov’s flamenco-themed Ainadamar (2003), and Hans Werner Henze’s Phaedra (2007), which interprets Greek mythology through the eyes of a World War II survivor. This year the Opera Company of Philadelphia is proud to present Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters (2011) which is set in the American Southwest explores the lives of a group of women who live in a polygamist community. Although opera is one of the oldest musical art forms, it still remains and expands today. From the old favorites to the new experimental works opera continues to be a moving art form of the people.

ACTIVE LEARNING 1. Choose a composer noted above and research two other operas by that composer.

2. 3. 4. 5.

Can you find the story of the Greek myth Daphne? How did Lully die? What does the acronym Verdi stand for in the phrase Viva Verdi? Visit the Opera Road Map on page 7 to learn more about opera.

9 Right: the cast of Rossini’s Cinderella; Below: Puccini’s loveable bohemians; Bottom: Denyce Graves and Gregg Baker in Danielpour and Morrison’s Margaret Garner.

The Man Behind the Music:


Georges Bizet Carmen’s composer, Georges Alexandre Cesar Leopold Bizet, was born in Paris, France, on October 25, 1838. His father was an amateur singer and composer, and his mother was the sister of a famous singing teacher. He entered the Paris Conservatoire in October 1848 just before his tenth birthday and while there became an outstanding pianist, organist, and score reader while there. Bizet would use those skills working as a rehearsal pianist and musical arranger to earn extra money. In the process he learned about musical trends in Paris, knowledge that would shape his own music, as demonstrated in the Symphony in C Major, which he wrote at the age of 17.

Jacques Offenbach 1819 – 1880

Henri Meilhac 1831 – 1897

Ludovic Halévy 1834 - 1908

He wrote his very first opera, a one-act comedy, La maison du docteur (The Doctor’s House), in 1855 as a homework assignment. His second opera, Le Docteur Miracle (Dr. Miracle), was a light one-act operetta written in 1856 for a competition sponsored by the operetta king, composer Jacques Offenbach. Bizet’s work tied for first place and was performed at Offenbach’s theater, the Bouffes-Parisiens. It was Bizet’s professional debut, but didn’t seem to catch the public’s interest. Bizet soon won the Prix de Rome composition competition and went to study in Italy for three years. He learned about the Italian style and was influenced by Gaetano Donizetti’s operas. Although not performed until 1906, Bizet’s next opera, the comedy Don Procopio (Mr. Procopio) (1859), showed this influence. Returning to Paris in 1860, the Théâtre Lyrique offered Bizet the libretto to Les pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers). Premiered on September 30, 1863, this romantic opera is set in Ceylon (today known as Sri Lanka), and shows Bizet’s gift for writing operas with exotic backgrounds, dramatic story lines, and brilliantly colorful orchestrations. The opera was not

a huge success and was not performed again until several years after his death. Despite this failure, Bizet found an ally in Leon Carvalho, director of the Théâtre Lyrique, who continued to offer Bizet work during the 1860s. Despite often postponing or burying the works Bizet created, Carvalho was convinced of Bizet’s talents. In July 1866, he offered Bizet La jolie fille de Perth, based on Sir Walter Scott’s novel The Fair Maid of Perth. Premiered in December 1867, this was also a flop, even with several numbers that the audience liked. The Opéra-Comique offered Bizet a chance to work with two of France’s leading librettists, Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy. Bizet suggested the short novella Carmen written by Prosper Mérimée in 1845. Work began in late 1873, but was interrupted twice by the Opéra-Comique who wanted Bizet to work on other material. He finally completed Carmen in the summer of 1874. While in rehearsal the opera was subjected to edits that did not meet Bizet’s approval. Nonetheless, he created a work which reflected everything he had learned throughout his life. It premiered March 3, 1875 and received a hostile reception from audiences and critics. Bizet died three months later, at the age of 36, from a heart attack brought on by complications from a throat infection. It was only after his death that Carmen traveled the world, returned to Paris in triumph and became one of the most beloved operas in history. Bizet died believing his greatest work was to be forgotten.

ACTIVE LEARNING 1. Read page 12 to learn more about Carmen’s premiere. 2. Use a web translator to find out what the words 3. 4. 5.

“bouffes” and “parisiens” mean. What do you think the operettas presented there were like? What is the Prix de Rome? Find Sri Lanka, where Bizet’s opera The Pearl Fishers is set, on a map. Find a video clip of this opera on YouTube, Vimeo, or Google Video. Can you find Offenbach’s famous “Can-Can” online?

What in the World?? Personal and Historic Events during Bizet’s Life


Listed below are some historic and cultural events that took place during Bizet’s life. Events in boldface type are things that happened to Bizet; an asterisk (*) indicates events of local interest. What might it have been like to be alive at this time?

1838 1839 1842 1845 1845 1846

Georges Alexandre Cesar Leopold Bizet was born in Paris on October 25. First recorded use of "OK" [oll korrect] in Boston's Morning Post. Bizet began to learn the names of the various musical notes at the same time that he began to learn the alphabet. Edgar Allan Poe’s poem "The Raven" was first published. Irish Potato Famine destroyed the valuable potato crop in Ireland, ruining lives. After noticing signs of remarkable aural memory, Bizet’s father began formal music lessons with his son. French writer Prosper Mérimée wrote the novella Carmen, which would ultimately inspire Bizet’s biggest hit.

1847 1848 1849 1850 1853 1855

The first doughnut with a hole in it was created. Bizet entered the Paris Conservatoire to study music. California’s Gold Rush began. * The first women's medical school, the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania, opened. Levi Strauss began selling tough pants to California gold miners. The first pair sold for $1.12. Bizet was recommended by Jacques Halévy Bizet to the director of the Opera Comique as a composer, pianist and accompanist. While at the Conservatoire, Bizet won first prizes in organ and fugue. Bizet wrote his first symphony, the Symphony in C, at the age of 17 as part of a homework assignment.


His one-act operetta, Le docteur Miracle, awarded Bizet a tie for first place in a prize offered by Jacques Offenbach. Bizet won the Prix de Rome music scholarship which required him to study in Rome for three years. * Philadelphia’s Academy of Music opened with a concert conducted by Tchaikovsky.

1858 1860 1861-65 1862 1863-71 1865 1867

In preparation for the Prix de Rome, Bizet arrived in Florence on January 12 and continued to Rome on the 28th. On hearing of his mother's serious illness, Bizet cut short his Italian travels and returned to Paris in September. American Civil War took place. Following his mother’s death in 1861, Bizet consoled himself with his parents' maid, Marie Reiter, who gave birth to a Bizet's illegitimate son, Jean. First United States paper money was issued in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500 and $1,000. Bizet composed the opera Les pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers) for the Théâtre Lyrique. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery throughout the United States. Bizet’s next opera, La jolie fille de Perth (after Walter Scott's novel The Fair Maid of Perth), premiered in the Théâtre Lyrique. Although not overwhelmingly successful, it helped establish Bizet as an important composer.


On 3 June, Bizet married Geneviève Halévy (1849–1926), the daughter of his late teacher Fromental Halévy. * Charles Elmer Hires sold his first root beer in Philadelphia.

1870 1872

* The first section of the famous boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J., opened to the public. Bizet wrote incidental music for Alphonse Daudet’s play L'Arlésienne (The Girl from Arles). * The Republican National Convention, the first such to include African Americans, was held in Philadelphia’s Academy of Music.

1874 1874

Bizet and his wife separated for two months, causing a delay in the composition of Carmen, which had begun the previous year.

* The first United States zoo opened in Philadelphia. A United States child labor law took 12 year olds out of work force.


Carmen premiered on March 3rd at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. While not well-received, it ran for 37 performances over 3 months. Bizet did not live to see Carmen's success. He died from a heart attack at the age of 36. Bizet died on his sixth wedding anniversary, exactly three months after Carmen's first performance. Cultural and historical dates and information researched at

The Romani Life: 12

Two photos from National Geographic magazine in 1917. Above: A Spanish Romani girl from Granada. Above right: The girls and women "tell fortunes," and those who refuse to have their fortunes read are cursed!

Carmen’s Gypsies In our opera Carmen is a gypsy. The origin of these wanderers is shrouded in mystery. Historians, like detectives, have pieced together clues, like their language and history, to trace them back to India. It appears that the gypsies roamed to the Persian countries (modern-day Iran) in the 5th century C.E. They made a name for themselves as excellent musicians, entertainers and metalworkers. After passing through Egypt they found their way to Europe, first to Greece and the Balkans in the 1200s, and then Eastern and Western Europe in the following centuries.

casts a spell on Don José with a cassia flower, “the witch’s flower.” In Spain at that time there were many accusations of witchcraft and heresy that had little or no facts to back them up. Whatever petty crimes some of the gypsies may have committed, the sentence handed down to them was generally far worse than simple punishment for criminal activity. Judges abused their powers, and punishment became worse, fueled by anti-gypsy prejudice. As a result, the gypsies as a group were forced to fight for their own survival on a daily basis.

Following their own traditions, gypsies continued to entertain and do metalwork as they traveled around Europe. Some historians have thought that they wandered to find work; however, the gypsies may have simply liked the excitement of a nomadic, wandering life. Although their valuable and various talents helped make European culture even better, people began to be suspicious of them and accused them of robbery, sorcery, and fraud. In order to flee these charges, they restarted their old tradition of moving from place to place. It was a difficult life, filled with stress and uncertainty. Because of this, the clan members were extremely close and had a very strong bond between them. The gypsy language and culture held these extended family units together.

In spite of persecution, the gypsy culture has made many contributions to several cultures around the world. Through their travels the gypsies would pass different ideas and goods from one country to another. This cultural diffusion often gave birth to new traditions and ideas across cultures. For example, the gypsies of Spain gave the country one of its most respected dance forms, the flamenco. This dance uses castanets which the gypsies brought into Europe from Egypt.

Gypsies’ bad reputation is a combination of misunderstanding and reality. It could have been that a few of the gypsies, in order to earn much needed money, were small scale thieves; however, their involvement in witchcraft, of which they were often accused, is pretty far fetched. In the opera, Carmen

During World War II, the Nazis persecuted the gypsies as they did the Jews. It is important for us in the twenty-first century to recognize the injustices that were perpetrated in the past and also those that continue today. There certainly much we can learn regarding tolerance and the acceptance of people different from us. We need to recognize our own prejudices and the dangerous behaviors they can produce. If you dislike someone because of their race, religion, language or culture, you are denying yourself the opportunity to learn from that person. Each of us has a rich ethnic culture of which to be proud. Escaping the cycle of prejudice enables us to enjoy the many wondrous ways people are alike and different.


An 1853 painting by Yevgraf Sorokin depicting the Romani people.


To learn more about the Romany gypsies, visit


September 15 - October 15 is Hispanic-American Heritage Month. Find a video on YouTube featuring one of the following musical types to share with your classmates: Bolero, Habanera, Seguidilla, Cha-Cha, Flamenco, Fandango, Rumba, Jota, Malagueña, Mambo, Pasodoble, or Conga.

The Danger and Drama of



Bullfighting is one of the best known of popular Spanish customs. It is also one of the most controversial. Most Spanish festivals (fiestas) could not exist today without the inclusion of a bullfight among the events. However, this practice and tradition has come upon much public outrage and opposition in recent years. Since prehistoric times, bulls have played an important part in the cultures of many civilizations. Bull cults existed on the Greek island Crete. The Bible tells of sacrifices of bulls in honor of divine justice. Bulls also played an important role in the religious ceremonies of the Iberian tribes of Spain. The origins of the bullring have been traced to the Celtic-Iberian temples where bulls were sacrificed to the gods. Greek and Roman influences converted the bullfight into a glorious but gory spectacle. The Roman amphitheatre influenced the design of the bullring. During the Middle Ages, Roman aristocracy would amuse itself by circling the bulls while riding on horseback – a custom known as toreadoring. In the eighteenth century, this practice was abandoned; the lower classes, however, retained bullfighting as a ground-based sport, and developed rules of conduct. The bullfight was an adventure in which you could lose your life or win glory. The rewards were fame, wealth, and popular admiration for the best of the bullfighters. They lived the lives of heroes. Today, however, this romantic aura is much diminished. The bullfighter is looked upon as the relic of a bygone age and dying sport. A corrida de toros (bullfight) starts with the grand entrance, the paseillo, in which everyone involved in the bullfight enters the ring and presents themselves to the spectators. Two alguacilillos on horseback look up to the “president’s box” and symbolically ask for the keys to the puerta de los toriles (the bullpen door). Behind this door, the bulls stand waiting. The door opens, and the first bull enters the ring. The spectacle consists of three tercios, or parts, signaled by bugle calls. There are three toreros, the correct term for bullfighter. (The term toreador, used in our opera, is no longer a part of the modern Spanish vocabulary). Each torero is allotted two bulls. In the first tercio, the bullfighter uses a capote, a large cape colored pink on one side and yellow on

the other. The bull and bullfighter engage in a sort of ballet, the bull passing the torero who gingerly sidesteps his charging companion. Two picadros enter on horseback, each armed with a wooden lance. They are followed by three banderilleros, whose task it is to stick a pair of banderillas into the charging bull’s back. The bull stands with these metallic objects sticking out his neck, a gruesome sight indeed. Now comes the finale, the suerta suprema. The torero use a muleta, a small red cloth draped from a stick. He shows his masterful domination of the bull, and establishes a symbolic union of man and beast. Then, he plunges his sword into the bull’s neck, killing the animal. The bullfight’s appeal is based largely on the danger and thrill of man versus bull. The bulls are raised for their roles from the moment they are born. They are symbols of the quest for human domination over the beasts of the earth. The spectacle of man against bull is mirrored in Carmen as men seek domination over women.

ACTIVE LEARNING 1. Look up two articles on bull fighting, one positive and one negative.


Write a persuasive paragraph or speech about your views on bullfighting.



Disaster to Triumph Carmen is a French opera by a French composer based on a French story with a Spanish plot that’s filled with Spanish folklore and music. Sounds confusing, right? Well, it was for opening night audiences. Yet, after a muddled debut, Carmen would become one of the three most popular operas in the world. With Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida and Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème, Georges Bizet’s Carmen helps make up the “A-B-C” of Opera. Carmen had a scandalous premiere, or opening night, and the audience’s reaction was almost hostile! First produced in Paris, France, on March 3, 1875, it was one of the first operas to show real life situations and characters on the opera stage. Most operas up to that point celebrated the victories and romances of their heroes and heroines. With its horrible opening night, there were only 47 more performances and the opera closed in January 1876. Ticket sales were so bad after the premiere that the theater gave away tickets to fill the house. So why all the hullabaloo about the opera? Early audiences weren’t used to the realistic portrayal of the lives, loves, and problems of average and lower-class people. Yet in Carmen, gypsies, cigarette makers, smugglers, and soldiers were the stars of the show. To make matters worse, the opera was performed at the Opéra-Comique, a theater known for its wholesome family entertainment. Parisians were shocked to see these seedy characters on the stage of the theater.

Even more shocking was how a gypsy, smoking onstage no less, used her womanly charms to lead an upstanding member of the social upper class to his downfall. Don José, our non-hero, is a low ranking army corporal, but the title “don” refers to a Spanish nobleman or gentleman. That such a high-brow person was portrayed as a low-ranking, hot-headed soldier (and a poor one, at that) disturbed the audience. The contrast and class struggle of the opera’s two leading characters is vividly evident in both music and text. Don Jose and Carmen aren’t really in love; their attraction is strictly physical and even animalistic. Their relationship is doomed from the moment they meet. Bizet died of a heart attack on June 3, 1875, on the night of Carmen’s thirty-third performance in Paris. After his death the opera was reworked. Some of the music cut during rehearsals was put back and the original spoken dialogue was set to music by Bizet’s friend Ernest Guiraud. The version with Guiraud sung dialogue was found in every published score from 1875 until 1964. The opera first achieved public acceptance during a run of performances in Vienna in October 1875, and did not become a true “hit” in France until 1883. Carmen was first produced in New York City on October 23, 1878, and was seen in Philadelphia for the first time at the Academy of Music just one day later. Critics’ comments for both presentations were quite harsh. Today, almost every opera lover – and critic – agrees that Carmen is a masterpiece. There have been several film versions, including a 1954 all-black-cast modernization, Carmen Jones, and the MTV update for Beyoncé, Carmen: A Hip Hopera. The opera’s music is instantly recognizable everywhere; various sections are highly popular fixtures as program music for Olympic figure skating competitions.

ACTIVE LEARNING 1. Discuss what Parisian audiences experienced at Carmen’s premiere. Would audiences today be shocked? Think of a recent situation where something similar happened. Can you think of a young actress who did something shocking to change her image? How did it affect her career?

2. Three images from the opera's premiere: (top) Galli-Marie, the first woman to sing Carmen, (middle) A poster for the opera’s premiere, (bottom) original set sketch for Act 1 of the original 1875 production.

On YouTube, find the “Habanera” from Carmen and “Dat’s Love” from Carmen Jones. How are the songs different and the same? Opera star and Pennsylvania native Marilyn Horne provided the voice for Carmen in the film Carmen Jones.


Synopsis ACT I It’s a blistering hot day in sunny Seville, Spain. Hot and tired, a group of soldiers hangs out watching people go by. The shy, pretty Micaela comes looking for Corporal Don José, but he’s not there. The soldiers try to get Micaela to stay by flirting with her, but she leaves. Soon after, Don José arrives as the guards change shifts. A bell from the cigarette factory chimes, and the women come out for their smoke break. The men flirt with the factory girls, too. Carmen comes in last, and everyone is drawn to her, except Don José. Seeing a challenge, the gypsy sets her eyes on him and sings, "Love is a rebellious bird that no one can tame” and throws a flower at Don José. Laughing, she and the other women return to the factory. He hides the flower in his uniform. Micaëla returns with a letter from Don José’s mother, who begs him to marry Micaëla. As he reads the letter to himself Micaela leaves. Suddenly, horrible screams come from the factory. Carmen has gotten into a fight with another girl and slashed her face with a knife. Lieutenant Zuniga questions Carmen, but her only reply is the mocking response “tra-la-la.” Don José is ordered to guard Carmen while Zuniga gets a warrant for her arrest. Alone with Don José, Carmen seduces him into making a plan that will let her escape. Zuniga returns with Carmen’s formal arrest orders. As she’s being led away to prison, Carmen pushes Don José and escapes through the confused crowd.


A few months later, Carmen and her friends Frasquita and Mercédès have fun singing and dancing for the soldiers late at night in Lilias Pasta’s tavern. Carmen hears that Don José, who was sent to prison because he let her escape, got out the day before. The famous bullfighter Escamillo arrives, and everyone is star struck. He sings about his adventures in the bullring and flirts with Carmen, but she’s not interested. The soldiers and Escamillo leave as the smugglers Dancaïre and Remendado join Carmen, Frasquita and Mercédès. They need to deliver their smuggled loot and want the three women to join them. Carmen says she can’t go because she’s in love. Nobody believes her as Don José’s voice is heard outside. They leave Carmen and Don José alone. He tells her how much he loves her. A trumpet signals that the soldiers must report back to the barracks. Don José says he must leave, but Carmen mocks his loyalty to the military. Don José proves his love by pulling out the flower she threw at him at their first meeting. That’s not enough for Carmen; she wants him to ditch the army and join her gypsy life. Don José tells her he could never leave the military. Zuniga shows up to see Carmen and orders Don José to leave. José refuses and draws his sword. Before their fight progresses, the smugglers burst in and tie up Zuniga. Don José has no choice but to flee with the gypsies.


Late at night in a deserted place outside of Seville, the smugglers carry their goods through the mountains. Carmen’s love for Don José is fading and the two bicker. She tells him to go home to his mother. Frasquita and Mercédès read their fortunes in cards, but when Carmen tries, she only sees her death and Don José’s. The women join the smugglers on their trip to the city to distract any guards. Don José stays behind to watch the camp. Micaëla has found her way to the smugglers’ site. She will take Don José away from Carmen. Afraid, she hides after seeing Don José shoot his gun. The bullet has barely missed Escamillo who is there to see Carmen. The Toreador claims the two of them are in love. Don José challenges him to a duel, but the fight is cut short when the smugglers return. After Escamillo leaves, Remendado finds Micaëla hiding. She tells Don José that his mother is dying. As Don José rushes off with Micaëla, Escamillo’s voice is heard in the distance.

ACT IV Outside the bullfighting ring in Seville, the street sellers are busy hawking their wares. Zuniga tells Frasquita that an order has been issued for Don José’s arrest, although he has yet to be found. The crowd cheers Escamillo as he enters, and he and Carmen express their love for each other. As the throng enters the arena, Frasquita warns Carmen that Don José is somewhere in the crowd. Carmen says that she is not afraid and stays behind to confront him. Disheveled and crazed, he comes out of the shadows and begs Carmen to start a new life with him. Carmen says everything is over between them. Carmen tries to go into the arena and Don José blocks her way. Carmen says she’s in love with Escamillo. Enraged, Don José stabs Carmen and she falls to the ground dead. The crowd exits the arena with a victorious Escamillo to find Don José standing over Carmen’s lifeless body.


Discovering My Inner



Hanna Smith, Wilmington Friends School

Lazy from the hot Andalusian sun, I wrapped myself in a towel and stood up. I was in Seville, the fourth largest city in Spain, on a school trip. I had been living abroad in Spain for my junior year of high school, learning a new language and a new way of life. My view from the terraza was filled with the chaotic beauty of Sevillian rooftops. Clay tiles covered the top of each building, contrasting the cloudless sky. The small gardens and jutting apartment balconies added to the city’s random charm. I looked down from the spectacular view and at my watch; it was already three in the afternoon. I had been tanning with my friends and didn’t want to leave Seville without exploring the sights. My friends continued their sun worship unapologetically. I set off to see Seville on my own. Our hotel, Don Paco, was conveniently located near the heart of the casco viejo and the famous cathedral. Just the day before, I had herded my lost friends to the hotel, being careful not to get caught up in the small, winding, and often un-named streets. However, my excitement to play conquistador and explore the unknown landscape got the best of me, and before I realized it, I was lost. The rooftops of Seville.

With every turn, I discovered something new. Aging two story buildings painted soft yellows and blues surrounded me as I weaved myself deeper into the casco. Laundry hung from tiny windows to dry. The barks of dogs, zooming of scooters, calls of 'Guapa!' from old men brought the neighborhood to life. Although the sun was unforgiving, the contagious spirit of the city got to me and I went where my feet led me. I strolled the tiny sidewalks and felt like one of the luckiest girls in the world. I saw the Seville that often went unnoticed, not the popular one made of bullfights and flamenco music. I glanced at my watch and it read five thirty. With less than three hours left to see everything, I decided to find the famous Plaza de España. I asked the first person I saw, a sweet looking abuela, for directions. I forgot that the Andalusian people are famous for their distinct accent. So distinct that it took nearly 15 minutes, a hand drawn map, and a very frustrated old woman for me to finally understand where I was going. I expressed my gratitude and was off again. I found my way out of the winding streets and onto bigger roads, filled with other tourists and natives chatting happily. With the sun still beating down on me, I walked another half hour until I finally reached the plaza area. I followed a path that revealed the most stunning plaza in all of Spain.

Plaza España Photos by Hanna Smith

It was absolutely gigantic. A channel of water circled the plaza with a large central fountain. I walked across a bridge to the towering government offices, originally built for an exposition in Spain in the twenties, that dominate the plaza. There was a grand staircase that led to a sheltered walkway that looked out onto the square. Below the walk way was evenly spaced pieces painted tiles that represented a Spanish community. I felt a sense of pride when I saw the final piece of work with the word Zaragoza written in tall capital letters along the bottom. Zaragoza was my "hometown" in Spain where I had been living for the past 6 months. Tile after tile, tower after tower, each small and large detail came together to form this breathtaking landmark. I stood in the center of it all, placing my feet in the star- like design on the ground and watched the sun set behind the plaza with a strange sense of nostalgia that only comes from seeing something so special you will never forget it. Seville is one of the most interesting places that I’ve ever seen. The city’s streets, inhabitants, buildings, and gardens all hold secrets and mysteries waiting to be discovered by some ‘conquistador’. I had been alone and lost in one of the largest cities in Spain, but I had come out of it triumphant. With determination and an appreciation for history and culture, Seville is the perfect city to discover.

ACTIVE LEARNING 1. Use an online translation tool to learn the English meaning of the words in bold italic face.


Using a map or a globe in your classroom, find Andalucia area of Spain, Seville, and Zaragora.


Read Prosper Mérimée’s novella to learn what life was like in Seville during the time of the opera. What differences can you find between the novella and the article above?

Glossary act (akt) n. one of the main divisions of a play or opera. allegro (uh-leg-roh) adv. musical term for fast and lively. alto (al-toh) n. the range of the female voice between mezzo-soprano and contralto. andante (ahn-dahn-tey) adv. a musical term meaning in moderately slow time. antagonist (an-tag-o-nist) n. an adversary or opponent of the main character or protagonist in an opera, play, or other drama. aria (ahr-ee-uh) n. an operatic song for one voice. banderilla (ban-duh-ree-uh) n. A decorated barbed dart thrust into the neck or shoulders of the bull in a bullfight. bandolier (ban-dl-eer) n. A belt worn over the shoulder and across the chest. bar (bahr) n. a division of music containing a set number of beats. baritone (bar-i-tohn) n. the range of the male voice between tenor and bass. bass (beys) n. the lowest male singing voice. beat (beet) n. the basic pulse of a piece of music. brazen (brey-zuhn) adj. marked by contemptuous boldness. chattel (chat-l) n. slave; an item of tangible property that is not related to real estate. chord (kord) n. a group of notes played at the same time in harmony. chorus (kawr-uhs) n. 1. a group of singers. 2. a piece of music for these. chronological (kron-l-oj-i-kuhl) adj. a method of arrangement that puts events in order of occurrence. console (kuh n-sohl) v. to alleviate the grief, sense of loss, or trouble of; comfort. contraband (kon-truh-band) n. goods or merchandise whose importation, exportation, or possession is forbidden. contralto (cuhn-tral-toh) n. the lowest female singing voice. corporal (kawr-pruh l) n. A noncommissioned officer ranking in the army above a private first class and below a sergeant. cortege (kawr-tezh) n. A train of attendants; procession. deign (deyn) v. to descend to a less formal or less dignified level reluctantly and with a sense of being insulted. demean (dih-meen) v. to lower in character, status, or reputation. dragoon (druh-goon) n. a member of a European military unit formerly composed of heavily armed mounted troops. ducky (duhk-ee) adj. fine; excellent; wonderful. entrance (in-trans) v. to carry away with delight, wonder, or rapture. To put into a trance. fervent (fur-vuhnt) adj. having or showing great warmth or intensity of spirit, feeling, enthusiasm, etc.; ardent. flat (b) (flat) adj. a half-step lower than the corresponding note or key of natural pitch. flighty (flahy-tee) adj. easily excited; lively or frisky in action. forte (f) (for-tay) adv. loudly. fortissimo (ff) (for-tee-see-moh) adv. a musical term for very loud. gallant (guh-lahnt) adj. Spirited, Brave. implore (im-plaẇr) v. to call upon with a humble request. impudent (im-pyuh-duhnt) adj. lacking modesty’ marked by contemptuous or cocky boldness or disregard of others. intoxicate (in-tok-si-keyt) v. to excite or elate to the point of enthusiasm or frenzy. key (kee) n. the basic note of the main scale used in a piece of music. In the key of G, for example, G is the fundamental note; the music often returns to it and comes to rest on it. largo (lahr-goh) adv. a musical term meaning in slow time and dignified style. lackey (lak-ee ) n. someone who does menial tasks or runs errands for another; servant. leitmotiv (lahyt-mo-teev) n. a melodic passage or phrase associated with a specific character, situation, or element. libretto (li-bret-oh) n. the words of an opera or other long musical. major (mahy-zer) adj. music in a major key uses a major scale, in which the first three notes are the key note followed by intervals of a tone and then another tone (for example, C, D, E). It often has a cheerful, strong sound. manzanilla (man-zuh-nee-yuh) n. a pale, very dry sherry from Spain. minor (my-ner) adj. music in a minor key uses a minor scale, in which the first three notes are the key note followed by intervals of a tone and then a semitone ( for example A, B, C). It often has a sad, melancholic sound.



natural (nach-er-uhl) adj. a note that is neither flattened nor sharpened. octave (ok-tiv) n. a note that sounds twice as high in pitch as another, is an octave above the other note, and has the same letter naming it. opera (op-er-uh) n. a play in which the words are sung to musical accompaniment. orchestra (awr-keh-struh) n. a large body of people playing various musical instruments, including stringed and wind instruments. overture (oh-ver-cher) n. an orchestral composition forming a prelude to an opera or ballet. parapet (par-uh-pet) n. a wall, rampart, or elevation of earth or stone to protect soldiers. parry (par-ee) v. to ward off a weapon or blow. pastime (pas-tahym) n. Something that amuses and serves to make time pass agreeably; diversion. persistent (per-sis-tuhnt) adj. continuing without change in function or structure. picador (pik-uh-dawr) n. a horse man in a bullfight who jabs the bull with a lance. pianissimo (pp) (pee-ah-nees-ee-moh) adv. a musical term meaning very softly. piano (p) (pi-an-oh) 1. adv. a musical term meaning softly. 2. n. keyed percussion instrument first named pianoforte because it could play both softly and loudly. predicament (pri-dik-uh-muhnt) n. a difficult, perplexing or trying situation. prelude (prey-lood) n. a musical section or movement introducing the theme or chief subject (as of a fugue or a suite). presto (pres-toh) adv. a musical term meaning very fast. punctual (puhngk-choo-uhl) adj. being on time, prompt. rampart (ram-part) n. a broad embankment raised as a fortification and usually surmounted by a parapet. rapture (rap-chur) n. a state or experience of being carried away by overwhelming emotion. refrain (ri-freyn) n. a regularly recurring phrase, especially at the end of each stanza or division of a poem or song; chorus. resume (ri-zßm) v. to return to or begin again after interruption. revere (ri-veer) v. to regard with respect tinged with awe; venerate. saucy (saw-see) adj. rude, impudent, fresh, brazen. scale (skayl) n. a series of notes arranged in descending or ascending order of pitch. seguidilla (sey-gee-deel-yuh) n. a Spanish dance in triple meter for two persons. semitone (sem-i-tohn) n. a half step or half tone, an interval midway between two whole tones. sentry (sen-tree) n. a soldier stationed at a place to stand guard and prevent the passage of unauthorized persons, watch for fires, etc., especially a sentinel stationed at a pass, gate, opening in a defense work, or the like. sharp (#) (shahrp) n. any note a semitone higher than another note. Also, slightly too high in pitch. sistrum (sis-truhm) n. an ancient Egyptian percussion instrument consisting of a looped metal frame set in a handle and fitted with loose crossbars that rattle when shaken. soprano (so-prah-noh) n. the highest female or boy's singing voice. stage (stayj) n. a platform on which a public performance is given before an audience. staging (stay-jing) n. the presentation or production on the stage. symphony (sim-foh-nee) n. a long musical composition (usually in several parts) for a full orchestra. synopsis (si-nop-sis) n. a summary, a brief general survey. tone (tohn) n. 1. an interval equal to two semitones. 2. the sound quality of an instrument or voice. urchin (ur-chin) n. a mischievous roguish child, esp one who is young, small, or raggedly dressed verismo (vuh-riz-moh ) n. realism in opera. wile (wahyl) n. a trick, artifice, or stratagem meant to fool, trap, or entice; device. zingarella (zing-gahr-el-uh) n. a member of a nomadic, Caucasoid people of generally swarthy complexion, who migrated originally from India, settling in various parts of Asia, Europe, and, most recently, North America; gypsy. From Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Š Random House, Inc. 2011.

The School District of Philadelphia School Reform Commission Robert L. Archie Jr., Esq., Chairman

Sounds of Learning™ was established by a generous grant from The Annenberg Foundation.

Denise McGregor Armbrister, member Joseph A. Dworetzky, member Johnny Irizarry, member Dr. Arlene C. Akerman Superintendent of Schools

Pamela Brown Interim Chief Academic Officer

Dennis W. Creedon, Ed.D. Office of Comprehensive Arts Education Director/Principal

Opera Company of Philadelphia Robert B. Driver Artistic Director

Corrado Rovaris Music Director

David B. Devan Executive Director

Dedicated funding for the Sounds of Learning™ program has been provided by: $20,000 to $49,999 Hamilton Family Foundation Presser Foundation Universal Health Services Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation $10,000 to $19,999 The ARAMARK Charitable Fund at the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program Eugene Garfield Foundation GlaxoSmithKline The Hirsig Family Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation Lincoln Financial Group Foundation Morgan Stanley Foundation

Michael Bolton Director of Community Programs

The Opera Company of Philadelphia is supported by major grants from The William Penn Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and The Lenfest Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Independence Foundation and the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation. The Opera Company of Philadelphia receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Written and produced by: Opera Company of Philadelphia Community Programs Department ©2011 1420 Locust Street, Suite 210 Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A. 19102 Tel: (215) 893-5927 Fax: (215) 893-7801 Michael Bolton Director of Community Programs Rachelle Brisson Community Programs Intern

Special thanks to: Robert B. Driver Dr. Dennis W. Creedon Creator, Sounds of Learning™ Curriculum Consultant

Dr. Dan Darigan $5,000 to $9,999 Alpin J. and Alpin W. Cameron Memorial Fund The McLean Contributionship Samuel S. Fels Fund Silver Bridge Advisors

West Chester University Department of Literacy

Tim Matheson Carmen Production Photos Vancouver Opera

Ms. Hannah Smith Mr. Michael Smith

$1,000 to $4,999 Bank of New York Mellon Citizens Bank Louis N. Cassett Foundation Mutual Fire Foundation

Margaret Anne Butterfield Friends Select Wilmington

Laura Jacoby Tullo Migliorini EMI Records Maureen Lynch Operations Manager Academy of Music

Cornell Wood Head Usher Academy of Music

Academy of Music Ushers Debra Malinics Advertising Design Concept

Kalnin Graphics Printing

Center City Film and Video Vanessa Habershaw Community Programs Volunteer

Lt. Vicki Flood Community Programs Volunteer

Thomas Sauerman Community Programs Volunteer

2011 2012

Opera Company of Philadelphia

OPERA at the Academy Carmen

The Abduction from the Seraglio

Manon Lescaut

September 30, October 2m, 5, 9m, & 14

February 17, 19m, 22, 24 & 26m

April 20, 22m, 25, 27 & 29m




AURORA SERIES Chamber Opera at the Perelman Elegy for Young Lovers*

Dark Sisters

March 14, 16 & 18m, 2012

June 8, 10m, 13, 15 &17m



* The Kimmel Center Presents Curtis Opera Theatre’s production in association with Opera Company of Philadelphia

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