Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Davies, Ann. "High and Low Culture: Bizet's Carmen and the Cinema." In Changing Tunes: The Use of Pre-existing Music in Film, ed. Phil Powrie and Robynn Stilwell, 46-56. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006.

Cinema attempts to claim a status as an art form and offer the elitism of opera to new audiences in opera film. The opera film creates a hybrid cultural artifact that blurs boundaries between high and low culture, which can be seen in Cecil B. DeMille's Carmen, Otto Preminger's Carmen Jones, and Francesco Rosi's Carmen. Bizet's Carmen as an opera is a hybrid of high and low culture in and of itself, a characterization maintained in film opera versions of it. Otto Preminger's Carmen Jones uses Bizet's music but with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein and an entirely black cast, playing into the tradition of the musical. The consideration of filmed opera as a cultural hybrid, implying distance, allows tension between high and low culture to be preserved and invites the audience to appreciate the elite high culture.

Works: Works: Cecil B. DeMille (director): Sound track to Carmen (48-49, 55); Otto Preminger (director): Sound track to Carmen Jones (49-51, 55); Francesco Rosi (director): Sound track to Carmen (51-55).

Sources: Bizet: Carmen (48-55).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Film

Contributed by: Karen Anton Stafford

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