Richard Nisley

One Hit Wonder
Music - Classical Released - Jan 08, 2013

It may not be the best but it is the most popular opera ever composed--the people’s choice. Start to finish, it’s filled with memorable music, an opera you can hum to. People who hate opera adore “Carmen.”

“Carmen” is George Bizet’s masterpiece. Unfortunately, when first performed in Paris in 1875, if flopped. A few months later, at age 38, Bizet died they said, of a broken heart. “Carmen” had to become a hit elsewhere before Parisians embraced it--three years after Bizet’s death.

On the list of the 100 greatest composers, Bizet comes in at number 38, which isn’t bad for a guy sometimes dismissed as a one-hit wonder. True, he didn’t compose a lot of music, but what he did compose is widely performed today in orchestral halls around the world, from Paris to China, and in the gymnasium of your local high school.

The music of Carmen has been transcribed into a symphonic suite. So has his ballet, L’Arlesienne (The Woman of Arles). Add his one symphony (The Symphony in C) and you can get Bizet’s lifework on a single CD.

If you like melody--if you like Paul McCartney--Bizet is your man.
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