The Politics of Dance

O the rajo literally cracked or split functionally

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Unformatted text preview: n Picture Soundtrack [1983] o A traditional song is used in a modern set piece dramatizing the knife fight between Carmen and another woman in the tabacalera (cigarette factory). In Merimée’s story, Carmen merely cuts the woman’s face; in Bizet’s opera, the action even takes place offstage. In Antonio Gades’s flamenco ballet version, the version used in this film, however, Carmen kills the other woman by slashing her throat. The folk song is only used very early in the dance, but the music continues in pure rhythm, derived from and driving the dance. The sudden cessation of rhythm is the moment where Carmen slashes the woman’s throat. Then a new, military rhythm is heard as the soldiers come to arrest Carmen (a long, dramatic silence in the film is edited down in this recording). Gades rearranged much of Bizet’s music in his ballet, and in one of the most striking transpositions, a tune heard in the opera as an innocuous pastorale in flute and harp (Entr’acte, Act III, vaguely associated with the sickly- sweet Micaela) becomes Carmen’s seduction tune. • • “Canción del fuego fatuo (Song of the Will- o’- the- Wisp)” (Manuel de Falla, libretto Gregorio Martinez Sierra) Sarah Walker (mezzo- soprano), Geoffrey Simon, The London Symphony Orchestra, Falla: Love, the Magician [Chandos CD CHAN 8457, 1986] o Three versions of the same short song from de Falla’s flamenco ballet demonstrate very different vocal qualities. o In the first, the orchestra responds well to Geoffrey Simon’s fiery interpretation, but in the process almost swallows English mezzo- soprano Sarah Walker’s pristine voice and rather prim performance o mainstream version • • “Canción del fuego fatuo (Song of the Will- o’- the- Wisp)” Teresa Berganza (mezzo- soprano), García Novarro, London Symphony Orchestra, Manuel de Falla [Deutsche Grammophon CD 429 181- 2, 1978] o Teresa Berganza’s peformance with the same orchestra is much more assertive (recording technique aside). Her richer voice and phrasing are...
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