At my annual piano recital when I was 12 years old, I played a piano transcription of the Habanera from Carmen. I practiced over and over until I could play it with my eyes closed.

I walked onto the stage in a cold sweat, sat down at the keyboard, closed my eyes, and let it flow.

When I opened my eyes, the audience was standing, clapping, shouting “bravo.” I have no recollection of actually playing the piece, only the experience.

As a child, my father, who was stationed with the Army Air Corps in South America during WWII, parked me in front of an RCA Victor record player listening to the 78’s he’d collected from that era of Spanish ballads, flamenco guitar, and Carmen.

This selection is from an absolutely brilliant 1983 film directed and choreographed in the flamenco style by Carlos Saura and María Pagés. The image is grainy, but still powerful. The film was magnificent.

The Habanera from Carmen.

Here is the official movie trailer.


2 thoughts on “Habanera

  1. Hi Steve – Thanks for reminding me of this film, one of the best Spanish films made, pre Almódovar. There was a second film, the name of which escapes me, but I would love to see this one again. It was on video when I saw it and there must be a cleaned up DVD somewhere. Lucky you having parents who exposed you to music and good on you for appreciating it! Thanks, Christina

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Christina – I saw that film a couple years after it was released and it just blew me away. We were living in Europe at the time, and we saw it in the theater. It’s available on DVD on Amazon and also as part of the box set: Carlos Saura’s Flamenco Trilogy (Blood Wedding / Carmen / El Amor Brujo). Paco de Luca is featured on flamenco guitar.
    My father did not have much of a formal education. He got his GED in the Army Air Corps during WWII. But he was well-read, with an amazing vocabulary, and he loved music, primarily the classic Italian opera and the Latin music he heard when he was stationed in Columbia and Panama. He had a large collection of records that he’d bought there and shipped back to the States. I still have some of them. He also loved flamenco dance, and he introduced me to that, as well. Yes, I’d say I was fortunate!


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