Saturday, 16 January 2010

Popstar To Operastar #10 - pathos

Last night, prior to watching Popstar To Operastar I found myself sitting through a fine Christopher Nupen documentary from 1973, Carmen: The Dream and the Destiny (still available on iPlayer here).Nupen narrates the story of Bizet's struggle to bring Carmen to the stage in 1875 whence it initially flopped (and intercuts the story with great back-stage footage of a Hamburg production of Carmen starring Huguette Tourangeau and Plácido Domingo, pictured right).

The film closes with prescient, deeply upsetting and yet surgically accurate words if applied to this TV show:
... precisely because of its popularity, the fundamental idea of Bizet's masterpiece has tended to be lost in the familiarity of the overworked tunes.
This translates as nothing short of a elegy for the cultural assimilation of opera itself.

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