Tune of the Day: March of the Toreadors
Probably one of the most invigorating themes in all opera, the dashing “March of the Toreadors” serves as the very first theme of the prelude to Act I. The flamboyant Spanish tune is almost a literal transcription of the festive music announcing the bull-fight in the last Act.
The opera's prelude also introduces some of the most important themes, including the famous “Toreador Song” and an exotic and sinewy chromatic motive that permeates the opera as a musical symbol for both Carmen's character and the insurmountable power of fate. There is an odd story told of this theme, which is said to be of Eastern origin. The legend is that when Satan, according to Mohammedan tradition, was cast from Paradise, he remembered only one strain of the music he had heard there. This was known as the “Devil's Strain”, and Bizet used it with fine symbolic as well as perfect musical fitness.