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Thread: Carmen Overload

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by os168 View Post
    Well...the theatre/stage is full of oxymorons. What do you call all the Shakespeare plays and its various manifestations through out the world in all sort of medium? I think the big question is what is the difference between a masterful rendition of a classic vs an amateur version? I'd say creative decision, thoughtful process are key components of the criteria.

    I have a complete different reading of the story of Carmen from you. It was never about romance or passion for me, but about dangerous seduction, manipulation of emotions, dark obsession, sexual conquests, cold jealousy, gender politics, unhealthy relationships where one always strives to domineer another but at the same time at the mercy of the other (succinctly summarized in the final pose). It is the push and pull of lust, obsession, doom and death, the darker side of 'love'. Carmen has always been a profoundly dark story for me, but has been primed too much in the past with the romanticism and the fetish of the period/ exotic scenery / political background where it became more about the glam, the props/the kit, the ambiance of theater/performance environment, where its core concepts has been watered down following the culture of commercialization of Carmen. It is the equivalent of performers putting on their own Halloween costume playing 'trick or treats' doing a superficial reading of the story without getting into the honesty, the truth of the material; the heart, the blood, the guts of Carmen in its bare essence, its interdependence.

    The main difference between C/L's version is they are so focused on its literal story telling, scene changes, it missed out the big picture. Their interpretation is skin deep and conforms to a theatrical version of Carmen the judges probably expect. Tessa and Scott's version on the other hand cut away the trimming, the fats and got to the heart of the emotions, exploit the fundamental concepts and realized it in a new form of a dance. It is not edgy for edgy's sake, but it with purpose and meaning.

    A master performer distinct itself by the choice he/she makes. The program picked the purity of emotion and essence of Carmen and revitalized into the 21st century. In doing so, they made it uniquely their own. It is a testament to their growth and journey as a leader of this sport to able to take risks pushing for this direction. Hopefully they will be rewarded by the judges at worlds. It challenges the audience and the judge's perception of the material, but I think in the long run, this is a worthy effort that can distinct themselves from the pack. One can certainly scrutinize over techniques and the execution, but the elite art direction and the creative decisions of this program is superb (comparatively to say D/W Notre Dame). I love it!
    Touche.

    If only I found the dance as impassioned as your defence of it.

    Carmen has become such a skating cliche (as you rightly pointed out).

    At what point does the music hinder more than it helps?

    I am just saying that Virtue and Moir could have explored these same themes more effectively with better music.

  2. #47
    Constable , Costume Police colleen o'neill's Avatar
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    os168.. I've been too busy and exhausted to post much in the last few days, and I desperately wanted to post last night, but put it off..Today ,I find your post describes my feelings pretty much completely.

    Though I like Anna and Luca very much , their program is the kind of thing I feared we might see from V/M when the first rumours of their Carmen started circulating...some very pretty highlights , the usual textbook emoting ,the usual literal translation of the story, culminating in her death. In other words, nothing extraordinary.

    I've seen some people complain that V/M use the music out of order.. but their program is about the emotional and psychological journey of the characters , not just a retelling of the events , and I love the cuts they've used.

    The program prompts us to think more deeply about Carmen and Don Jose . If they had used music from a different composer, yes, they could have explored the same themes, but would it have been as illuminating ? Would it have the same resonance ?

    We all know the storyline. This program shows us the why of Carmen. The final pose shows us Don Jose is utterly lost, but though Carmen seems in control ( because we know the storyline and the music is Carmen ) we know that her dominance is fleeting and ultimately, they're both headed for destruction.

    I feel very uplifted at seeing a Carmen with such depth.
    Last edited by colleen o'neill; 10-30-2012 at 02:33 PM.

  3. #48
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    I haven't read the whole thread, so forgive me if I repeat someone.

    I echo all of those who say they don't mind overused music as long as they bring a fresh interpretation ala V/M this year.

    My favorite Carmen interpretation has to be Suguri's back in 04/05: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX21Vo5LTKE

  4. #49
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    One interesting thing to note is the amount of fine music from Carmen that is not routinely over-used. Such as the lively "Seguidilla: Près des remparts de Séville" and "Les tringles des sistres tintaient" sections or the beautiful melodies of the "Je Dis" aria and Don Jose's famous "Flower Song: La fleur que tu m'avais jetée."

    But I'd rather hear the standard Carmen or Giselle or Rachmaninoff than some of the warhorse pieces of inferior musicality (such as the hideous tango "Jalousie"). Also don't care for sub-par adaptations like S/S's flamenco Bolero (... and dear God, my eyes are still bleeding from those costumes.)

  5. #50
    Constable , Costume Police colleen o'neill's Avatar
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    I'm surprised to see people making fun of the Cullberg Ballet's Carmen ,when this is clearly the version ( right down to the red scarf) that K/O referenced in their Carmen , and many skating fans feel theirs was the best.

    Though I appreciated K/O's skating ( and she was always gorgeous whatever she did ) , for me there was too much facial contortion, Carmen was portrayed as too intentionally destructive .

    Carmen as evil incarnate is one well-known interpretation , but I prefer a more nuanced portrayal, myself.

  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFiguring View Post
    And that killed me!
    Did she touch your palm too?

  7. #52
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    I cringe when I hear Carmen. Nuff said.

  8. #53
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    I really appreciate os168's take on the 'darker side' of Carmen and feel bad for even short handed it this way as that diminishes the analysis that I so appreciate, so forgive me. I too also appreciate IP's comments.

    At one point, IP wrote: "I've seen some people complain that V/M use the music out of order.. but their program is about the emotional and psychological journey of the characters , not just a retelling of the events , and I love the cuts they've used"

    I hope I wasn't one of the people 'complaining' about music out of order. But I did write something like: after the cool lift where Tess is upside down and Scott in a spread eagle, the music changes to the march piece followed quickly by another cut that I am at the moment forgetting. Something about the quick march and then what followed left me confused. Not because of the order but rather the abruptness of the change and leaving me wondering, why so many changes (from the lift, to a change, to another change...that actuallly was followed by another change).

    That said, I'm loving the program and all the discussion of it.

    ETA and what's funny is that in another thread I said I was a fence-sitter about using 'war-horses.' what's funny to me about this is that I have never been a huge fan of using Carmen despite my loving other war-horses; so this year, I'm also enjoying enjoying Carmen in dance if that makes any sense.

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Michelle's 1999 short program was utterly unique in that it did not use the music of Bizet at all. Lori Nichol pieced together material from the "Carmen Suite" by then-avant garde Russian composer Rodio Shchedrin, scored for strings and percussion (mainly percussion ); from the Carmen Fantasy, adapted by Nichol's favorite violinist, Nadia Salermo-Sonnenberg, from the score of the 1947 Joan Crawford movie Humoresque by Franz Waxman; and from the score of the 1983 movie "Carmen" which featured a dual story line of two modern people playing out the Carmen tragedy in real life.

    Michelle did not try to portray a character of tell a story at all. Unless the story was, awesome athlete tries to win national championship.
    There is so much really great music from the golden age of Hollywood that ISN'T Gone with the Wind (another war horse that should be put out of our misery at skating competitions). And given that it was composed to BE cinematic, much of it would probably lend itself to character creation, comedy/drama, etc.

    I think a Carmen program would be a nice change of pace...if it was a Carmen Miranda piece. Ay yi yi!

  10. #55
    Constable , Costume Police colleen o'neill's Avatar
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    emma... I wrote that , and no, it wasn't you ( I think it was someone lacking your good manners. )

  11. #56
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    Carmen is a classic and there is so many different versions and cuts and even instruments. It has longevity unlike say StarWars. Heck pairs, dance and even men have skated to it - Petrenko, Evan... A lot of skaters don't really play the character anyways - Osmond, Nagasu, Thomas et al - it is just a great powerful song that gets the fans, skaters and judges going so in that way it is a good choice. It already has positives scoring wise. sometimes familiar music also helps the fans and judges so I can see why it is used. But it would be good to use other music maybe some strong anthems?

  12. #57
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    Sorry colleen o'neil, and thanks for the correction

  13. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. P View Post
    Actually, one pleasant surprise is Christina Gao and her SP music. I have never heard of the song, "Close without Touching," the album it came from, "The Spirit of Olympia" or the artists that did it, David Arkenstone.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Arkenstone <---- he sounds absolutely fascinating. And the guy has FORTY studio albums, so plenty to choose from.
    Mrs. P, Karen Kwan skated to this music in 1997. I immediately thought of her program when Christina's music selection came on the screen. Here's a link to Karen's program. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MbpNJxQutc

  14. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by BravesSkateFan View Post
    Mrs. P, Karen Kwan skated to this music in 1997. I immediately thought of her program when Christina's music selection came on the screen. Here's a link to Karen's program. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MbpNJxQutc
    Yes it's quite beautiful! Many people have pointed it out to me -- clearly I understand why. Still 15 years between programs is not bad...Christina Gao would only have been three years old at the time.

  15. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. P View Post
    Yes it's quite beautiful! Many people have pointed it out to me -- clearly I understand why. Still 15 years between programs is not bad...Christina Gao would only have been three years old at the time.
    Yes I see that now. Just got to that part of the thread and came back to delete my comment, but alas you have already seen it. Oh well :P

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