Seville: A Spin on the Opera, “Carmen”

by Sarah

The tobacco factory was finished in 1771 and served as a central meeting place for the cigarreras, cigar girls, and the local men eager to catch their attention. Inevitably, drama ensued and Bizet used the story to write "Carmen".

On numerous occasions traveling has opened my eyes to culture I just didn’t have time for before. This week, I have discovered opera. I was reading The Diving Bell and The Butterfly and the author referenced Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Since I had never seen it before, I quickly YouTubed the performance. The lascivious Giovanni is certainly a character for the ages. There is a scene when his servant reads (min 2:02) a black book catalogue of the thousands of women his master has slept with that evoked thoughts of a flirtatious friend of mine who has a similar track record.

And so I had developed an appreciation of opera and was interested when our tour guide in Seville told us that the current University used to be an old tobacco factory and was the setting for one of the world’s most famous operas: Carmen. Of course I had never even heard of said opera before. Luckily (?) the tour was full of Americans who were just as clueless.  Cigarreras, cigar women, used to work in the factory all down and the local men would wait for them to emerge.  One particularly lascivious worker, Carmen, liked to seduce the men.  Inevitably a love story and cat fight emerged.  The tour guide spared us all the details but recommended we watch Beyonce’s “urban” reenactment of the story in 2001. It is aptly titled “Carmen: A HipHopera”. I only read the original screenplay on Wikipedia so I’m no expert but I’m fairly certain they took some liberties with the script…


About sistersbailey

We are Perrin and Sarah Bailey, collectively known as “The Sisters Bailey”. The moniker was born out of a crazy weekend at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz Fest and it was the first time we had ever been referred to as one unit. We grew up in Alexandria, VA together and then separated for college - Perrin to The University of Pennsylvania and Sarah to Northwestern University – and somehow landed together in New York after graduation. It was in the midst of the hustle of Manhattan that we became friends for the first time in years. Somehow we landed jobs in the same industry - Sarah worked in marketing at HBO and Perrin managed creative digital promotions for her media agency’s main client, Disney - just three blocks from one another. One day we decided to leave our jobs, sell our belongings and travel abroad with a backpack and a collective savings of $10K. The stories of our continuing adventures and those of other fearless travelers are here to inspire you.
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One Response to Seville: A Spin on the Opera, “Carmen”

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