Carmen Suites (Bizet/Guiraud)

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The Carmen Suites are two suites of orchestral music drawn from the music of Georges Bizet's 1875 opera Carmen and compiled posthumously by his friend Ernest Guiraud. They adhere very closely to Bizet's orchestration.

Guiraud also wrote the recitatives for Carmen, and compiled the second of the two suites from Bizet's L'Arlésienne incidental music.

Each of the Carmen Suites contains six numbers. Both suites have been performed and recorded many times.

Carmen Suite No. 1

  • Prélude: Act I, Prélude: "Fate" motive
  • Aragonaise: Interlude (Entr'acte) before Act IV
  • Intermezzo: Interlude (Entr'acte) before Act III
  • Séguedille: Act I, Seguidilla (Carmen): Près des remparts de Séville
  • Les Dragons d'Alcala: Interlude (Entr'acte) before Act II
  • Les Toréadors: Theme from Prelude to Act I and Procession of the Toreadors from Act IV: Les voici! voici la quadrille des Toreros!.

Suite No. 1 was published in c. 1882.[1]

The Aragonaise was also used by Pablo de Sarasate in his Carmen Fantasy for violin and orchestra[2] and further used by Franz Waxman in his own Carmen Fantasie.

Carmen Suite No. 2

  • Marche des Contrebandiers: Act III, Chorus:: Écoute, écoute, compagnon!
  • Habanera: Act I, Aria (Carmen): L'amour est un oiseau rebelle
  • Nocturne: Act III, Aria (Michela): Je dis que rien ne m'épouvante
  • Chanson du Toréador: Act II, Introduction and aria (Escamillo): Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre
  • La Garde Montante: Act I: Avec la garde montante, nous arrivons, nous voilà!
  • Danse Bohème: Act II, Gypsy Dance: Les tringles des sistres tintaient.

The Suite No. 2 is longer than the first Suite. It was published in 1887.[3]