Classic Opera Cartoon

Classic Opera Cartoon

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My favourite, probably apocryphal, program note for Carmen

"Oh, my subductive Carmen!"

Back when photocopies and faxes were the only way to pass funny tidbits around virally, I remember this supposed program note making the rounds.

It is allegedly an unfortunate translation of a programme note for Bizet’s Carmen. Whenever I see (or perform) Carmen, I always think about it 🙂

Act 1. Carmen is a cigarmakeress from a tobago factory who loves with Don Jose (Duet: “Talk me of my mother”). There is a noise inside the tobago factory and the revolting cigar-makeresses burst into the stage. Carmen is arrested and Don Jose is ordered to mounting guard her but Carmen subduces him and lets her escape.

Act 2. The Tavern. Carmen, Frasquito, Mercedes, Zuiniga, Morales. Carmen’s aria (“The sistrums are tinkling”). Enter Escamillio, a balls-fighter. Enter two smuglers (Duet: “We have in mind a business”) but Carmen refuses to penetrate because Don Jose has liberated her from prison. He just now arrives (Aria: “Slop, here who comes”) but here are the bugles singing his retreat. Don Jose will leave and draws his sword. Called by Carmen’s shrieks the two smuglers interfere with her but Don Jose is bound to dessert, he will follow into them (final chorus: “Opening sky wandering life”).

Act 3. A rocky landscape, the smugler’s shelter. Carmen sees her death in cards and Don Jose makes a date with Carmen for the next balls fight.

Act 4. A place in Seville. Procession of balls-fighters, the roaring of the balls is heared in the arena. Escamillio enters (Aria and chorus: “Toreador, toreador, All hail the balls of a Toreador”). Enter Don Jose (Aria: “I do not threaten, I besooch you”) but Carmen repels him wants to join with Escamillio now chaired by the crowd. Don Jose stabbs her (Aria: “Oh rupture, rupture, you may arrest me. I did kill her”) he sings “Oh my beautiful Carmen, my subductive Carmen.”

New opera “Anna Nicole” opens at Covent Garden

I love this but have no idea what is going on. The animals seem surprised, too.

Opening to wildly mixed reviews, the new opera based on the life, times and breast implants of Anna Nicole Smith debuted yesterday at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.  A collaboration between composer Mark-Anthony Turnage and Richard Thomas (co-librettist of Jerry Springer, the opera).  It looks very Jerry-Springer-ish to me (which is not necessarily a bad thing), but seems pretty wild for the ROH.  But you be the judge:

Guardian article with tons of fabulous photos