Ich habe davon geträumt, Friseuse zu werden

CARMEN von Lidija Mirkovic

Such like Shakespeare’s Shylock became an object of anti-Semitic projection during the centuries, the world’s most played opera CARMEN provides a lot of opportunities for imagination of antiziganism and formes notion on Gypsies since its creation.

In fictional movies the directors deal with the subject Carmen since 1907. There are at least 30 Carmen film versions by directors such as Cecil B. DeMille, Charlie Chaplin, Ernst Lubitsch, Otto Preminger, Jean-Luc Goddard and Carlos Saura.

Both the version of Mérimée and the opera of Bizet provide many chances for interpretation of the matter due to their symbolic and mythic levels of this subject. But in the always possible version the content flattens out to a stereotype, which allows for tawdry exotism, in production of opera, in fictional movies and in arts.

The ability of serial production in conjunction with the industrialisation evolved “department store” arts which are bound to prettify the middle-class living room. This consumer pictures – produced in commercial process for the great mass – are directed to forming collective notion. Often you can observe in this tawdry illustrations the sup-posedly lifeworld of gypsies, while prejudices and romantic projections of the mainstream society are portrayed. Effusive image subjects are the favourites like covered cart at the camp fire, the violinist, the dancing girl, the fortune teller and of course Carmen.

Carmen is a widespread image subject: the black haired gypsy woman with large ear rings, low neckline and a promising look – the opposite of the subdued hose wife. This illustration of the gypsy women is the mostly imprinting Imago of the European culture and literature, stated Almut Hill in her book on the gypsy woman in the German-language literature. In the middle-class version Carmen is the unsubdued, freedom-loving woman who flirts with the men self-confidently and self-determined, a femme fatale who personified the everlasting femaleness. A sensual, wild creature of the nature.

Considering the social class the gypsies belonging to predominantly all existing myths are disenchanted, even the one of Carmen as eternal seductress. On this reading the figure Carmen can be interpreted as prostitute already at Bizet, which comes closer to the social reality of the gypsy women today as well as during Bizet's lifetime.

Friseuse Carmenkollage