August Sings The Habanera from Carmen
January 29, 2013 5:42 PM   Subscribe

For those who like a little WTF? with their opera. [NSFW]. Of course, there's a Making Of video. Also NSFW, and in German.
posted by pjern (32 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

 
Definitely a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment.

Cheers!
posted by Samizdata at 5:49 PM on January 29, 2013


Oh, and YouTube sucks on a 768K connection.
posted by Samizdata at 5:50 PM on January 29, 2013


Hey, internet. Ya think you're better than me? Do ya? Ya think you're better than me? You're not better than me.

okay you're better than me. wtf indeed. did not see that coming.
posted by mcstayinskool at 6:00 PM on January 29, 2013


I unironically love everything about this. No, really, everything.

Also, genderswapped arias are AWESOME and it is basically my life goal to sing "Vesti La Giubba" in evil clown drag some day.
posted by a hat out of hell at 6:16 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's Maria Callas in the photograph the woman takes from the wall, isn't it?
posted by koeselitz at 6:23 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is BAD ASS
posted by roger ackroyd at 6:24 PM on January 29, 2013


I came for the opera. I stayed for the WTF.

and it was glorious.
posted by oddman at 6:42 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I like a lot of wtf with my opera, so thank you. Also, an all-male Carmen could be excellent.
posted by notquitemaryann at 6:53 PM on January 29, 2013


That's Maria Callas in the photograph the woman takes from the wall, isn't it?

I wondered if anyone else would notice that.
posted by pjern at 7:12 PM on January 29, 2013


This is so great! Who/what/why? Anyone know? Production value is so great--so well done. Brava! Bravo!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:18 PM on January 29, 2013


Everything about this is brilliant.
posted by carter at 7:26 PM on January 29, 2013


Wow. This was great, and fucking weird. Amazing.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:31 PM on January 29, 2013


Whoa.

Even their robot camera is dressed in sexy shiny black vinyl.
posted by moonmilk at 7:34 PM on January 29, 2013


I loved this, and not just because it demonstrated there is a market for my combo of physique and cymbal skills.
posted by maxwelton at 7:44 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can't stop watching it! Mad, mad, mad.
posted by typewriter at 7:59 PM on January 29, 2013


That's the best thing I've seen in a long time.
posted by heyho at 8:08 PM on January 29, 2013


I like opera, I've been to see Carmen, but I will never be able to hear this without picturing an orange with eyelashes.
posted by artychoke at 8:10 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


wat

+++
posted by lalochezia at 8:16 PM on January 29, 2013


What's the German word for the realization that you are definitely not being invited to the best parties?
posted by zompist at 8:18 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


What's the German word for the realization that you are definitely not being invited to the best parties?

nichtdiebestenpartiestraurig.
posted by pjern at 8:24 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


It took me a while to really appreciate opera, beyond the fact that it's a classic highbrow artform. I think I finally started to really enjoy it when I realize that the highbrowness is a glorious facade, and so much of opera is people behaving in an abominably trashy way absolutely spectacularly. Stripped of their exquisite trappings, many of the stories in opera could come straight out of dime papaerbacks from the 50s. I mean, I watched Maria Stuarda by Gaetano Donizetti a year or so ago, and here is one of the great tragic cases of internecine rivalry in history, with Mary Queen of Scots purportedly launching multiple assassination attempts against her first cousin, Queen Elizabeth 1, who finally, and grotesquely, had her beheaded in a somewhat inept way (there are rumors that Mary hid her dog under her dress, and after her head fell, the dog leaped out and began barking wildly at the executioner, drenched in its owner's blood.)

As though that were not spectacle enough, Donizetti re-imagined history so that the two women would meet, and have an epic catfight, one calling the other a "vile bastard," leading to the opera being banned in Naples. And, as it happens, the two singers who were cast in the roles had their own battle (PDF): Ronzi De Begnis, playing Maria, and Anna del Sere, playing Elisabetta, took their roles a bit too seriously and engaged in a genuine cat fight, where hair was pulled and blows were struck.

How can this not delight? And then there is Carmen, a play in which a soldier is ruined by a relationship with a gypsy that leads to immorality and murder. Adolphe de Leuven of the Opéra-Comique argued against even doing a play that was so risque, and resigned from the theater in large part because of Carmen. The critics responded with appalled moral clucking, complaining that the heroine was a vice-ridden seductress, and the show played to half-empty houses. And then, at the opera's 33rd performance, at the age 36, on his wedding anniversary, Bizet died; it was this event that revitalized public interest in the opera, which began to find champions.

This seems to be the sort of story for many great operas. They're immoral (Cosi Fan Tutte by Mozart). They're written by scandalous men (Verdi, Puccini, Haydn). They're fascistic (Wagner).

If you have trashy tastes, as I do, it starts being impossible not to be caught up in all this misbehavior, and to appreciate that it is presented as being so glorious. There is a lot to be found that is decadent, tawdry, excessive, poorly behaved, and ridiculous, in both the operas and the stories of their creation, and, frankly, I think this video represents exactly what opera looks like in my head.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:43 PM on January 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


Why NSFW? If there is one thing I like less than than "NSFW" it is misused NSFW...
posted by Chuckles at 9:25 PM on January 29, 2013


NSF... school teacher, church secretary, day care provider, pretty much any place where you will have a lot of 'splainin' to do if the wrong person sees you watching it.

Also, I LOVED it! :)
posted by figment of my conation at 9:35 PM on January 29, 2013


Chuckles: “Why NSFW? If there is one thing I like less than than "NSFW" it is misused NSFW...”

Because there's a naked man playing an oboe? Although maybe he's not entirely naked; I didn't quite notice. He seemed naked.
posted by koeselitz at 9:58 PM on January 29, 2013


That was extraordinary. I think I ruptured several somethings over here by laughing too much.
posted by Iosephus at 12:14 AM on January 30, 2013


Because there's a naked man playing an oboe?

He's actually playing a bass clarinet. You wouldn't see an oboist in such a state, not because of modesty, but because we need at least some article of clothing with pockets in which to stash all our reed-making and instrument-fussing gear.
posted by Wossname at 2:15 AM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is genuinely difficult to create a surprising narrative arc out of something like this. I'm damn impressed with what gets accomplished here using only four minutes of screen time.
posted by Ipsifendus at 4:39 AM on January 30, 2013


A little?
posted by Bovine Love at 7:00 AM on January 30, 2013


Last night after posting this and watching it for the nth time, I went to sleep, to promptly have a dream about a truly demented game of Clue:

It was the Pianist in the Wheelchair with the Ball Gag.
posted by pjern at 7:54 AM on January 30, 2013


August surrounded by people in clothing. August half naked and sexing and drinking and singing in German. August as a vampire. August has a web site and gets to do whatever he damn well wants, it seems.

About August Schram:
The unamplified voice and its creative use in opera, oratorio, film and theatre characterise August Schram’s artistic creations. The tenor trained in Berlin, Rostock and New York under Christiane Bach-Röhr and Neil Semer, lives for classical art forms and has a weakness for new media.

Hence his dedication to commitments at the opera houses of Giessen, Mainz, Darmstadt and Freiberg in Saxony, oratorio concerts i.e. with Ton Koopman, Helmuth Rilling and Bernhard Gfrerer, and his search for the present-day relevance of classical singing and contemporary modes of artistic expression.

August Schram loves to occupy himself with projects that deal with the fusion of applied arts, film and song.

Along with his work as a producer and co-producer of short films and documentaries, August Schram loves to work with young composers such as Alin Gherman, artists like Stephanie Winter, Daniel Domig, Coelestine Engels and movie makers like Daniel Moshel and Axel Stummer.

August Schram is a passionate sailor and has successfully participated in international regattas as well as European and world championships with his Melges 24 “Cold Duck”.
posted by maudlin at 8:54 AM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not just a performance, but the entire history of Western Civilization. Vidal-style.

What's the German word for the realization that you are definitely not being invited to the best parties?
I ... think that, too, may be covered by schadenfreude
posted by Twang at 10:03 AM on January 30, 2013


NSF... school teacher, church secretary, day care provider, pretty much any place where you will have a lot of 'splainin' to do if the wrong person sees you watching it.

Mooooo?
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:12 PM on January 31, 2013


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