Comparison Essay on Carmen Micaela in the opera
Uploaded by baadasskid69 on Oct 27, 2011
This essay compares the characters of Carmen and Micaela in the opera.
Carmen is a wonderful opera. The story of a love gone horribly wrong, it is filled with beautiful music that serves a realistic plot line. There is none of the spectacle that we associate with operas like “Aida” or Wagner’s “Ring,” but none is needed, for we are caught in a human drama.
This paper compares and contrasts two of the characters, Carmen and Micaela.
There are actually two pairs of characters that we could examine, Carmen and Micaela; and Escamillo and Don Jose. We might loosely characterize Carmen and Escamillo as the “bad” guys; and Micaela and Don Jose as “good,” though they are really far too complex to fit easily into any such pigeonholes. They are passionate people, and that leads to their downfall. The New York City Opera cast plays out this timeless tragedy in style, though at least one critic was not particularly kind. He described Katharine Goeldner’s (Carmen) movement as “awkward,” though he liked her voice. He found Carl Tanner’s Don Jose equally stiff physically which made him a good match for Goeldner’s Carmen, and merely adequate vocally; Paulo Szot as Escamillo fared slightly better in the reviewer’s eyes, who suggests that he is a still-developing talent; and Nicolle Foland “sang Micaela’s music sweetly and with an air of innocent devotion, which is everything one needs in a Micaela.” (Kozinn 2003, E5).
With that “damned-with-faint-praise” review in mind, let’s examine the characters of Carmen and Micaela. Micaela is the only truly good person in the opera. She is a girl from Don Jose’s village who is now taking care of his mother. Furthermore, she is the woman Jose’s mother would like to see married to her son. When she first appears, she asks the other soldiers if Don Jose is in the barracks, and when they flirt with her, she says she has to leave, and will be back later. (Carmen would have flirted right back, and beat them at their own game.)
When she meets Don Jose, she kisses him on the cheek, saying that the kiss is from his mother. His reaction is gentle: he says that she reminds him of home, and that through her kiss, he can see his mother and their village....