(to 18.15 app.)
(9.0 Local Announcements)
National Orchestra of Wales
(Cerddorfa Genedlaethol Cymru)
Conducted by Warwick Braithwaite
The Suite from which this is much the best known number, was composed originally as a joke, and intended for private, rather than public, consumption. Indeed, for some years Saint-Saens would not have it published, though for a long time now it has been enjoyed by the whole world of music. Much of it is parody and even satire, but this piece has no humorous intention. As listeners have had many opportunities of hearing for themselves, it is a vivid musical picture of the lazy movements of a swan, with water lapping about it. The solo instrument, whatever it may be, presents the swan, with the orchestral instruments depicting the gently moving waters of the lake.
Micaela, as opera goers remember happily, is a simple little country maiden, a contrast in every way to the fiery-natured Carmen. Even in appearance she is to look as different as may be, and the tale sets forth that she wears her fair hair in two long pigtails. The music which Bizet gives her to sing is in the very same way a striking contrast to Carmen's vivacious numbers. It is not the least effective part of the Opera that when she appears, her music has a simple, tender strain, in keeping with the character.
This song occurs in the third act, after Don Jose has been beguiled by Carmen into joining the wild band of Gipsy smugglers. Micaela, his youthful sweetheart, has heard of his whereabouts, and has come to the smuggler's hiding place among the hills in search of him. Alone, and not knowing what dangers there may be for her if she is found by the wild Gipsies, she summons all her courage to her aid, beginning her song 'I said that nought would affright me.'