#March 3, 1875: Carmen, the opera that shocked Paris

Carmen, now one of the most popular and frequently performed operas in the world, had its premiere on this day, March 3 1875, in Paris. However, its story of an army officer’s seduction (and betrayal) by a voluptuous and sensuous cigarette factory worker stunned its French audience and the first performance was greeted with astonished silence. Until this “vulgar” new opera came along and shook the public, the composer, Georges Bizet, had enjoyed moderate success, but nobody was prepared for the opera’s theme of erotic obsession, the sight of women…

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