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The novella that was the basis for one of the most popular operas of all time, Prosper Merimee’s Carmen is a swashbuckling story of a nineteenth-century Spanish soldier who deserts his post to pursue the fiery gypsy beauty, Carmen -- who seems to love him yet nonetheless seems to do everything in her power to escape him.
But the opera, it turns out, is only based on a part of the larger adventure that is Carmen. The story opens, for example, with Prosper Merimee himself meeting an famous (and on-the-run) highwayman on the plains of Andalusia. Helping the dangerous robber -- whom he feels is a kind of Robin Hood -- he is rewarded with the story of the wild Gypsy woman he knows of back in Seville ...
What follows is a swashbuckling tale to rival those of Zorro, with sword fights and and horse chases and wild dancing and more -- except, no mezzo-sopranos.