Video Virgil: Carmen and No Bull
On the theory that we bloggers should always write about what interests us, I hereby devote this entry to the 1984 film verson of Bizet's Carmen, directed by Francesco Rosi and starring Julia Migenes-Johnson and Placido Domingo. It is available on DVD from Netflix (bless Netflix).
Full disclosure: I just returned from a two-day conference on Carmen, for which I read the novella by Prosper Merimee, listened to the supreme recording with Maria Callas, and watched Rosi's marvelous film, which was shot on location in Spain and brims with movement and color, including two authentic bullfights.
Of course, authentic bullfights come at a price. Having opera stars lip-sync their way through action-packed scenes that they could not possibly perform while actually singing, creates a strange hybrid. One of my fellow participants, a seasoned performer, found it painfully distracting to watch Migenes-Johnson, Domingo, Faith Esham and the rest produce all that glorious music without any visible muscular strain. And he was right; it is distracting.
But so are the artifices of the stage. And if, like me, you are more movie buff than opera lover, then prepare to be as thoroughly seduced by this Carmen as Don Jose was by that gypsy girl who shattered his heart merely by throwing a flower at it.