Sunday, July 31, 2011

Carmen: An Urban Adaptation of the Opera

This review is by guest reviewer/blogger Melanie.

Carmen: An Urban Adaptation of the Opera by Walter Dean Myers

Summary: Carmen is a hot Latina who makes the mistake of falling in love with Jose, a local policeman. Too soon she learns that what she mistakes for Jose’s dark, brooding attractiveness is really mental instability. Unfortunately when she breaks it off with Jose and begins dating Escamillo, things go very wrong for Carmen and Jose. This is an adaptation and modernization of Bizet’s opera Carmen. Author notes and sheet music at the end, make this play fully able to be performed instead of read as only straight text.


I love the opera Carmen and Myers’ adaptation kept the spirit of that while making it truly feel like the story could be set in Spanish Harlem instead of Seville.It was very quick read, and the characters were created in such a way that it was easy to envision them.


It would be hard for kids to just “pick up” this book. While it is short, without a previous understanding of Bizet’s Carmen or even success reading plays, it will be a tough sell. In a school it would be great in an English or music class, but to read for fun...probably not. It’s more likely adults would read it for fun than teens.

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