MUS 278
Carmen, 1845 to Now Fall 2017 Division I; Writing-Intensive; Exploring Diversity Initiative; Cross-listed as MUS278 / WGSS248
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The story of the gypsy femme fatale Carmen has endured for over 150 years. In Western culture she exemplifies the seductive, exotic, independent, and forbidden woman who drives an upstanding man to a life of crime and finally murder. This course explores a broad array of treatments of this archetypal narrative, starting with Prosper Mérimée’s 1845 novella on which Bizet based his beloved 1875 opera Carmen. We will consider various staged and film versions of the opera itself, including Francesco Rosi’s stunning 1984 movie, and discuss various other film transformations of the story, from DeMille’s 1915 silent film through Hammerstein’s 1954 all-black musical Carmen Jones, to the MTV version A Hip Hopera of 2004. Comic approaches will also be assessed, from Charlie Chaplin’s Carmen Burlesque of 1915 through Spike Jones’ 1952 Carmen Murdered! and The Naked Carmen of 1970. We will explore remarkable dance interpretations ranging from Carlos Saura’s 1983 flamenco version through David Bourne’s choreography in his 2001 gay reading called The Car Man. This course satisfies the EDI requirement through a critical examination of the way in which the Carmen story has served as a stage on which multifaceted textual and musical constructions and conflicts of individual and group identities, encompassing gender and sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, and class are played out.
The Class: Type: tutorial; after initial group meetings to discuss Mérimée's novella and Bizet's music, students will meet with the instructor in pairs for one hour each week
Limit: 10
Expected: 8
Class#: 1770
Requirements/Evaluation: each student will write a 5- to 6-page essay every other week (five in all), and provide peer reviews in alternate weeks; evaluation will be based on the quality of written work, discussions, and oral presentation
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: none; ability to read music useful but not necessary
Enrollment Preference: sophomores and juniors
Distributions: Division I; Writing-Intensive; Exploring Diversity Initiative;
Distribution Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under MUS; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under WGSS

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