The Carmen Opera Bracelet tells the opera's story through symbolic beads and charms. This piece makes a meaningful gift for opera fans.
The world of Carmen seems sometimes far removed: Spain, Romani culture, mountain hideaways... but I always think this opera's themes of love, lust, jealousy and possession are perhaps some of the most relevant, in all ages. This story seems to play out all the time in our newspapers and on television. I'm sure I've seen this narrative on those true crime shows... more than once.
Each bead and charm of The Carmen Opera Bracelet represents a character or moment from Bizet's opera. Some of the most important beads and charms are described below and you can see all of the symbolic descriptions on the spiral chart in the photos or the written story chart below. (click upper right corner to view in full screen) A story chart explaining the symbolism of the beads and charms accompanies every bracelet.
- I chose a fiery red bead to represent passionate, seductive Carmen; a red pressed glass flower is the charm she employs to entice Jose. A bird charm evokes the “rebellious bird” of the Habanera.
- Jose is a gold glass round bead until in his madness he is transformed into a crackled glass bead to signify that he has in his mind quite profoundly and literally cracked.
- Micaela, the “girl in a blue dress” is a sky blue bead with a delicate white millefiori flower. A pink glass heart indicates the innocent, girl next door kind of love that awaits Jose (if only).
- A fan and wine charm symbolize the “Seguidilla and Manzanilla” which Carmen promises Jose they will enjoy if he lets her escape.
- Flashy toreador Escamillo is symbolized by sparking gold glass faceted bead, chosen for the tradition of calling a toreadors’ suit the suit of lights. A bull charm evokes the famous Toreador Song.
- A brown bead is the soldier Zuniga while green and blue beads represent Carmen’s loyal friends Mercedes and Frasquita.
- Green crackled glass beads signify Jose’s jealousy which leads to his breakdown. A silver faceted bicone bead is his blade. Together, these beads represent his fights with Zuniga and Escamillo.
- A large red glass heart pressed with a flower design and traced with gold is signifies Jose’s flower song. I felt this bead was perfect to represent this aria in which he proves his love to Carmen by showing her the flower she once gave him which he kept with him all through his imprisonment.
- Intricately hand painted glass beads represent the concept of “gypsy freedom”.
- A dark colored heart bead indicates that the love between Carmen and Jose has soured by the start of Act 3.
- Carmen, Mercedes and Frasquita read Tarot Cards to reveal their fates. Mercedes sees riches (gold disc beads indicate coins); Frasquita sees the love of a romantic hero (red heart) but Carmen sees only death (skull bead) for herself and Jose.
- A green swirling bead symbolizes Jose’s anguish as he must decide to visit his dying mother knowing that Carmen will waste no time embracing the love of Escamillo once he has gone.
- Jose’s final act of madness is indicated by a bead with a red core over laid with cracked red foil to indicate his cracked mental state has led to the final crisis and violence. Red droplets indicate Carmen’s death. A toreador charm symbolizes the victorious Escamillo.