THE OTHER IN THE SELF
The view of oriental “difference” as something sinister, and its transference to “ethnic” characters of all kinds, but especially sexy women, was one of the most significant artistic symptoms of the issues at stake in later nineteenth-century cultural politics. The most familiar bearer of orientalist tropes in the standard operatic repertoire, the title character of Bizet's Carmen (1875), is not even an “oriental” by the usual definition. As a Spanish Gypsy, however, she is a member of an ethnic minority (one, be it noted, with origins that can be traced to South Asia). For Prosper Mérimée, the author on whose story the opera was based, Carmen's exotic heritage made her an outsider to “mainstream” society and a threat to its denizens and their values. Bizet made this even clearer by casting every one of Carmen's solo numbers in an explicitly designated Spanish or Latin American dance form (habanera, seguidilla, etc.)—exotic, that is, not so much within the opera's stage world as in the world of its French audience.
- Citation (MLA):
- Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 7 Self and Other." The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press. New York, USA. n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2014. <http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume3/actrade-9780195384833-div1-007016.xml>.
- Citation (APA):
- Taruskin, R. (n.d.). Chapter 7 Self and Other. In Oxford University Press, Music in the Nineteenth Century. New York, USA. Retrieved 22 Nov. 2014, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume3/actrade-9780195384833-div1-007016.xml
- Citation (Chicago):
- Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 7 Self and Other." In Music in the Nineteenth Century, Oxford University Press. (New York, USA, n.d.). Retrieved 22 Nov. 2014, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume3/actrade-9780195384833-div1-007016.xml