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Did Carmen's failure kill Georges Bizet?

Editorial Staff

For Georges Bizet, his opera Carmen was just another near miss.

Its premiere in 1875 was riddled with mishaps: an out-of-tune tenor, a mistimed timpani explosion in the middle of a tender love scene, and an audience so disillusioned it abandoned the show. Bizet died three months later.

Carmen may have gone on to conquer the world in the century-and-a-half since then, but to the opera's creator, it was, in his own words, nothing but "a hopeless flop."

The fourth instalment of Classical (De)composition, a video series written by CBC Radio 2's Tom Allen, takes us through the tribulations of the most unpopular popular opera in history. Illustrations by Kevin Sylvester. Watch it below.

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