For those who like a little WTF? with their opera. [NSFW]. Of course, there's a Making Of video. Also NSFW, and in German.
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]
Director and/or star of many of the greatest films ever made including The Great Dictator (2:05:16) [Globe scene and the eternally goosebump providing Final speech], The Immigrant (20:01), The Gold Rush (1:11:49), City Lights (1:22:40), Modern Times (1:27:01), and Monsieur Verdoux (1:59:03), Charlie Chaplin's movies have entered the public domain in most countries. Below the fold is an annotated list of all 82 of his official short and feature films in chronological order, as well as several more, with links to where you can watch them; it's not like you had work to do right? [more inside]
All the Great Operas in 10 minutes (1992) is a very quick overview of La Traviata, Carmen, Don Giovanni, Aida, Tosca, Tristan and Isolde, Madame Butterfly, Ring of the Nibelung (a four-parter), resulting 26 dead, plus all the gods of Valhalla, which brings the grand total to 38 dead. 10 More Operas in 10 Minutes is a tribute to the original, created by the students of the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences, covering The Merry Widow (technically an operetta), The Force of Destiny, Lucia di Lammermoore, The Magic Flute, Falstaff, The Damnation of Faust, Rigoletto, Romeo and Juliet, La Bohème, and William Tell. Only 14 deaths tallied (not counting armies fighting).
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."