Qwiz5 Quizbowl Essentials: Carmen

Carmen is an opera by French composer Georges Bizet. It is the story of a love triangle between Carmen, a Spanish gypsy, Don Jose, a soldier, and Escamillo, a bullfighter. In the end, Don Jose kills Carmen in a fit of jealous rage after she chooses Escamillo. The opera is well known for its arias Habanera, the Toreador Song, and the Flower Song.

By analyzing questions, you can see patterns emerge, patterns that will help you answer questions. Qwiz5 is all about those patterns. In each installment of Qwiz5, we take an answer line and look at its five most common clues. Here we explore five clues that will help you answer a tossup on Carmen.


CARMEN

Carmen is a Spanish gypsy girl who works in a cigarette factory. She is arrested by Zuniga after stabbing a girl in a fight at the factory, and quickly escapes by seducing one of Zuniga’s men, Don Jose. She then flees to Lillas Pastia's Inn in the mountains. Carmen is best known for singing the aria “Love is a Rebellious Bird” (also known as the “Habanera”).


DON JOSE

Don Jose is a military officer who falls in love with Carmen. She seduces him by throwing a cassia flower at him and dancing a seguidilla. Because of this seduction, he allows Carmen to escape after she is arrested. He professes his love for Carmen with the “Flower Song”.


LILLAS PASTIA’S INN

After escaping, Carmen flees to Lillas Pastia's Inn in the mountains. There, she meets the bullfighter Escamillo and convinces Jose to work with the smugglers Dancaire and Remendado. Later, while reading tarot cards with her friends Frasquita and Mercédès, she foretells the deaths of Jose and herself.


MICAELA

Micaela is a young woman from Don Jose’s home town who is in love with Jose. Twice in the opera she brings a letter to Jose from his mother. The first time, the letter told Jose to marry Micaela. The second time the letter tells Jose that his mother is dying. He spurns Micaela for Carmen.


ESCAMILLO Escamillo is a bullfighter that Carmen falls in love with after becoming bored with Don Jose. Carmen’s love for Escamillo causes Jose to kill her in a fit of jealous rage. Escamillo’s best known aria is “Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre” (also known as the “Toreador Song”).

Quizbowl is about learning, not rote memorization, so we encourage you to use this as a springboard for further reading rather than as an endpoint. Here are a few things to check out:


* Read the libretto of the opera HERE.

* Five reasons why Carmen is a great opera.

* The Carmen episode of the awesome “Aria Code” podcast:

* Finally, watch a performance of the “Habanera” from the Met Opera…

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