About This Song
Carmen is an opera in four acts by the French composer Georges Bizet. The opera, written in the genre of opéra comique with musical numbers separated by dialogue, tells the story of the downfall of Don José, a naïve soldier who is seduced by the wiles of the fiery Gypsy, Carmen. Georges (1838 –1875), is best known for his operas in a career cut short by his early death, Bizet achieved few successes before his final work, Carmen, which has become one of the most popular and frequently performed works in the entire opera repertoire. Carmen’s Habanera is based on an idiomatic song, “El Arreglito”, by the Spanish-American composer Sebastián Yradier (1809–65). The habanera is the name used outside of Cuba for the Cuban contradanza, a genre of popular dance music of the 19th century. It is a creolized form that developed from the French contradanza. It was the first written music to be rhythmically based on an African motif, and the first dance music from Cuba to be exported all over the world.