Tuesday, December 02, 2008


I saw Carmen at the Los Angeles Opera (Row X) on Sunday.
It's one of my favorites.
This picture is based on the final act . Her not-playing-with-a full-deck ex-boyfriend (Don Jose) begs, then threatens her to take him back. She refuses. He flips out and stabs her to death.
The music's great, contrasting festive, optimistic music from a nearby bullfight with the the the dramatic oh, now he's really lost it! music as Don Jose has a meltdown.
Here's a You-Tube of the same scene if you're interested.


Linda said...

Wow. I've never really watched or listened to opera. My friends Peter and Anne who own a singing dog named Carmen are getting a huge TV so they can watch opera. I really like your illustration.

stray said...

yes, beautiful illustration: the textures, the drama

Namowal said...

Thanks, Linda, Stray,
I got interested in operas when I worked night shift and listened to books on tape, one of which was Opera for Dummies.
It's too bad the foreign languages, expensive tickets and snobbery makes opera appear stodgy and impenetrable to us mere mortals.
They're actually pretty much the same as Broadway musicals, just older (most of them).
BTW, I picked that version of Carmen's final act because it had English subtitles. Most versions of that act don't turn it into a wrestling match!

Sally said...

I agree, it's a beautiful illustration. I'm scared of opera too, but I watched the clip. I was surprised it was in French. The subtitles really help. Disconcerting that the guy looks so much like Dinah's bf but he had a beautiful voice. Also surprised that the scenery was so minimal.

stray g said...

Dad loved opera, but I have only been able to take it in small doses (like an aria here and there). I should try "Opera for Dummies." It always amused me that they sound so grandiose in foreign languages but more trivial and silly in translation. Once in the Paris opera house I saw "Boheme" sung in Italian with French subtitles and so still understood none of it!

Namowal said...

Thanks, Sally.
I hope I didn't get Dinah's bf in too much trouble!
I dislike minimalist sets. It's supposed to be avant garde and I suppose it was maybe eighty years ago. These days it looks pretentious and cheap.

Hi Stray,
Seeing an opera without English subtitles is about as fun as seeing a foreign movie without subtitles. You're correct that it sounds more grandiose than it really is. Even though Boheme ends sadly, much of it is silly and petty- them complaining about how cold it is, dodging the landlord, flirting, and horsing around.

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