The fame and influence of the guitarist Paco de Lucía, who has died aged 66 from a suspected heart attack, reached far beyond the intense and sometimes enclosed world of Spanish flamenco. His musical role in Carlos Saura's Carmen (1983) was as arresting in its way as the first glimpse of Laura del Sol, the film's luminous lead. The director-choreographer Saura cleverly reinvented the opera as a contemporary fable while retaining the original's elements of passion, possession, jealousy and obsession. De Lucía's interpretation respectfully returned Bizet's score – a French fantasy of Spain – to its Moorish antecedents. He also gave Carmen's timeless melodies a fresh, international appeal that chimed with the movie's arthouse success.
De Lucía had begun to broaden his horizons in the late 1960s, on teaming up with the charismatic young singer Camarón de la Isla. Their partnership yielded many