Despite mixed reactions to the first performance of Carmen on the Russian stage in Saint Petersburg in 1878, it rapidly became an indispensable part of the country’s operatic repertoire. Its alleged references to Aleksandr Pushkin’s 1824 narrative poem The Gypsies and the similarities between Bizet’s and Pushkin’s central characters meant that, for Russian audiences, Carmen felt as familiar as she was subversive. For Tchaikovsky, the opera became almost an obsession, while for the symbolist painters and poets of the Russian Silver Age, such as Mikhail Vrubel and Aleksandr Blok, the title-character represented, alongside and in complementary opposition to Shakespeare’s Ophelia, the idealised eternal feminine as much as the exotic other.
|Title of host publication||Carmen Abroad|
|Subtitle of host publication||Bizet's Opera on the Global Stage|
|Editors||Richard Langham Smith, Clair Rowden|
|Place of Publication||Cambridge|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Number of pages||21|
|Publication status||Published - 30 Jul 2020|
Assay, M. (2020). Russian Carmens and 'Carmenism': From Imperial Import to Ideological Benchmark. In R. Langham Smith, & C. Rowden (Eds.), Carmen Abroad: Bizet's Opera on the Global Stage (pp. 263-283). Cambridge University Press.