11 Early Scathing Reviews of Works Now Considered Masterpieces

The critics don't always steer or even reflect the tastes of the general public. Sometimes they get it so wrong that their words become embarrassing after the object of their scorn becomes a classic. Take, for example, the 1878 opera Carmen, by Georges Bizet.
Modern Status: One of the most beloved operas of all time, Bizet’s Carmen (1875) was savaged by the reviewers of its day, who regarded the opera’s flashy score and lurid subject matter with suspicion and hostility. Within a few years, however, the punters were going mad for its tempestuous love story, foreign setting and lush melodies—and over the next century it became one of the most oft-performed operas in the world. Sad to say, Bizet kicked the bucket before he could savor Carmen’s rise to glory.

Early Reaction: “The characters evoke no interest in the spectators, nay, more, they are eminently repulsive…” -Music Trade Review, London, June 1878
“As a work of art, it is naught.” –New York Times, October 1878
“The composer of Carmen is nowhere deep; his passionateness is all on the surface, and the general effect of the work is artificial and insincere.” –Boston Gazette, January 1879

Read about ten other compositions, books, poems, artworks, and performers that showed the critics wrong at mental_floss. Link

(Image credit: Flickr user Winnetka Library)

If you don't remember Carmen, listen to this.

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