I consider it a masterpiece in the fullest sense of the word: one of those rare compositions which seems to reflect most strongly in itself the musical tendencies of a whole generation.”

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Flamenco is a style of music which is considered part of the culture of Spain, but is actually native to only one region: Andalusia. The term is also applied to the dance style performed to flamenco music.
Andalusian, Gypsy, Sephardic, Moorish and Byzantine influences have been detected in flamenco, often said to have coalesced prior to and after the Reconquista was completed, in the 15th century. The origins of the term are unclear; the word flamenco itself was not recorded until the 18th century.
Flamenco is the music of the Andalusian gypsies and played in their social community. Andalusian people who grew up around gypsies were also accepted as "flamencos" (Paco de Lucía). Other regions, mainly Extremadura and Murcia, have also contributed to the development of flamenco, and many flamenco artists have been born outside Andalusia. Latin American and especially Cuban influences have also contributed, as evidenced in the dances of "Ida y Vuelta."


Carmen features a character named Escamillo who is a champion bullfighter. His famous aria, known as the “Toreador Song,” is one of the best known pieces in opera. Similar to professional athletes today, Escamillo is idolized by the crowd – and by Carmen.
Bullfighting in Spain
Bullfighting is considered an art form in Spain, and is intimately linked with the country’s history, art and culture. Today bullfighting is big business in Spain with the top matadors earning comparable salaries to the nation's top soccer stars and rock idols. It is very popular with several thousand Spaniards flocking to their local bullring each week.

It is said that the total number of people watching bullfights in Spain reaches one million every year. Pressure groups attempt to lobby against bullfighting, yet the King of Spain himself has been quoted as saying that the day the EU bans bullfighting is the day Spain leaves the EU.

History of Bullfighting in Spain
The spectacle of bullfighting has existed in one form or another since ancient days. For example, a contest of some sort is depicted in a wall painting unearthed at Knossos in Crete, dating from about 2000 BC. It shows male and female acrobats confronting a bull, grabbing its horns as it charges, and vaulting over its back.

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