Zic Zazou (French homepage) is a group of nine musicians who often play music using objects and toy instruments. Here is a delightful video of them performing the Habanera from Carmen in a workshop, with the workshop. [more inside]
In the 1960s and 1970s Hong Kong had a thriving film industry, dominated by studios such as Cathay Studios. One of Cathay's most fabulous stars was Grace Chang (Ge Lan), referred to by some as the Marlene Dietrich of Hong Kong Chinese cinema. Her greatest hit was The Wild Wild Rose (Ye mei gui zhi lian), based on Bizet's Carmen. The showstopper is her version of Habanera (YT). [more inside]
For all the hoo-ha about Callas first bringing real acting to the operatic stage, one has only to view the footage of Risë Stevens legendary 1952 “Carmen” to see what kind of Method she brought to the Met. Stevens was the definitive gypsy wanton, and her performance has it all— fire, ice, and that impossible balance between elegance and sluttiness. Her technique is superb—licking her fingers before extinguishing the candles in what will be her death chamber, then flicking off the wax; flinging her unwanted lover’s ring at him, spitting out a contemptuous “Tiens!”. The Metropolitan Opera Guild honors the Bronx-born singer, now 92. More inside.
Carmen, ah! souviens-toi du passé! The 233 [mostly] female cigar rollers (las cigarreras) at Seville's Altadis tobacco factory are urgently trying to defend the last remaining trace of the four-hundred-year-old tobacco industry in Seville, which is certain to cease production by 2007. Responsible for manufacturing six million cigarettes a year for Altadis, las cigarreras claim to be "the rightful heirs of the feisty Gypsy heroine" Carmen, idealized in Georges Bizet's 1875 opera of the same name. "Invoking what they see as Carmen's 'independent, unbending' spirit, these contemporary las cigarreras have organized a protest every Wednesday, between shifts, for more than a year to save well-paying local jobs as well as the factory itself, a link to the gritty history that spawned the romantic legends."