onsdag den 8. april 2009

Carmen - an inspiration

A few nights back I saw a performance of Carmen by the Danish Opera Academy and it made me think of the woman Carmen. Who is this femme fatale at the centre of Bizet's famous opera and how has she been portrayed ?
This is one of the first illustrations of a Carmen from the performance in 1875.
I've always thought of the opera Carmen as something of an odd mix – it takes place in Seville, Spain and yet they sing in French. The original novella was also written by a Frenchmen so, I guess it makes sense that way around. Any way Carmen is characterized as a free spirit – a gypsy, who belongs to no one.
In the different performances that I have seen, it has varied a great deal how much sympathy she is given.

She has been played as vulgar and cynical in her pursue of Don José, making her uninteresting in my opinion.
At other times she is seen almost as a witch and very mysterious -highlighting the her gypsy background and hinting that she bewitches Don José, who fall madly in love with her. But in my view she is more than just a seductive vixen. She is has a vulnerable side in her fear of death and her attempt to remain independent.
This Carmen has a masculine quality about her with the cigar and hat and her very stern look.
This following clip is from Frencesco Rosi's film version of Carmen with Julia Migenes as Carmen and Placido Domingo as Don José. This is clearly an 1980s Carmen: she looks like Cher. But this is also a good examples of the witch-version of Carmen I think.

>And then there is Carmen Jones, a musical after the opera. Carmen's gypsy roots are not part of the musical as they are in the opera, but the character of Carmen and the plot is basically the same. Carmen Jones in a modern woman, who just like Carmen of 1875 does not want to be owned by anyone.

2 kommentarer:

Romeika sagde ...

What a lovely inspiration, I'd like to see the opera someday!

Nerd Girl sagde ...

You should see it - it's wonderful. They are actually putting it on at the royal opera in November!