Carmen Fantasy (Sarasate)

The Carmen Fantasy, Op. 25, by Pablo de Sarasate is a violin fantasy on themes from the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet. A version with piano accompaniment was published in 1882.[1]

The Carmen Fantasy is one of Sarasate's most well known works and is often performed in violin competitions. It was dedicated to Joseph Hellmesberger.[2] Because of its delicate techniques and sanguineous passion inspired by the opera, it is considered to be one of the most challenging and technically demanding pieces for the violin.

The piece contains an adaptation of the Aragonaise, Habanera, an interlude, Seguidilla, and the Gypsy Dance. A performance takes approximately 12 minutes.


The work consists of five movements.

  1. Allegro moderato
    After a short introduction by the orchestra, the violin plays material from the Aragonaise, the entr'acte to act 4. Techniques include glissando, flageolet and pizzicato.
  2. Moderato
    This movement uses material, extensively ornamented, from the Habanera from act 1 ("L'amour est un oiseau rebelle").
  3. Lento assai
    Carmen's mocking treatment of Zuniga in act 1 ("Tra la la ... Coupe-moi, brûle-moi") is the theme for this movement; it ends in a flageolet.
  4. Allegro moderato
    The Seguidilla from act 1 ("Près des remparts de Séville") is here with ornaments including pizzicato, trill, glissando.
  5. Moderato
    This movement is based on the scene at the beginning of act 2 where Carmen and her friends Frasquita and Mercédès are entertaining Zuniga and other officers ("Les tringles des sistres tintaient"). The most technically difficult movement of the five, it employs rapid, moving thirds; fast arpeggios which span the range of the instrument; and a final virtuoso tempo acceleration.


The work is scored for piccolo and 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, tambourine, harp and strings. There is also an adaptation of the Carmen Fantasy with piano accompaniment.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Musik für Pianoforte mit Begleitung" [Music for pianoforte with accompaniment]. Musikalisch-literarischer Monatsbericht (in German). Leipzig: Friedrich Hofmeister Musikverlag: 344. 1882.
  2. ^ a b Carmen Concert Fantasy, accessed 18 May 2021

External linksEdit