From The Simpsons episode "Trip to the Opera."

By Julie Hubbert

A Seattle indigenous who thrived up attfinishing Seattle Opera, Hubert is an associate professor of music background at the School of Music at the College of South Carolina wright here she likewise teaches in the Film and Media Studies Department. This fall, through the aid of a NEH Fellowship, she will certainly complete a book on music in movies from the New Hollytimber Age.

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What carry out Nietzsche and Bart Simpkid have actually in common? It’s not a trick question. In fact, the answer reveals a hidden collaboration that has shaped the reception of this opera for over a century. The answer is Carguys. Nietzsche loved Carmales, although this admiration was certainly colored by misogyny and his thriving contempt for Wagner. Bart Simpson’s link to Carguys, however, is equally compelling and possibly even even more complicated. In the second episode of the animated series, after Bart cheats on an IQ test, his mommy Marge rewards him with a night at the opera. While there, Bart and also his father Homer delighttotally skewer opera conventions (a soprano via a healthy and balanced appetite does end the opera), however they additionally display screen an intimate expertise of the music, specifically when Bart sings the time-honored contrafactum of the Toreador’s Song: “Toreador, please don’t spit on the floor. Please use a cuspidor, that’s what it’s for.”
Early 1900s: The Silent FilmsThe Internationwide Movie Database (IMDb) counts 47 film versions of Carmales, but scholars, that encompass French, Spanish, and Afrihave the right to language productions, put the number well over 80. Bart’s sing-a-long in The Simpsons, in reality, is a delightful repincrease of among the earliest Carguys films, Charlie Chaplin’s Burlesque on Carmales (1916). If one prizes parody, and also I execute, Chaplin’s film is fantastic for the way it recasts Carmales as a display screen vamp, however likewise for the way it satirizes the witlessness of males that autumn for such seductresses. Chaplin’s Don José (hilariously recalled Darn Hosiery) reminds us of how essential the so-referred to as virtuous guy is to the building of the unvirtuous womale and raises the question: if guys can just store their pants zipped, would there be a Carmen?
Chaplin’s parody, yet, is also a thoughtful homage, a shot-for-shot remake at times, of Cecil B. DeMille’s Carmales (1915) of the year before. Both were component of the initially “battle of the Carmens,” with DeMille’s manufacturing claiming the high ground by spreading Metropolitan Opera star Geraldine Farrar in the title role. A month later on director Raoul Walsh sought a steamier performance and offered the role to legendary phase actress Theda Bera. DeMille was not the initially to attempt to elevate film by connecting it to opera or to enriching the silent display through the implied sound of an opera singer. Surviving scores for the live accompaniment for both films relied on Bizet’s music, however Ernst Lubitsch had the final word. His Carmen (1918), arguably the first completely cinematic version, featured neither singer nor thespian, yet one of the greatest movie stars of silent era, Pola Negri.
Promotional imeras and stills for Burlesque on Carguys.

The 1940s: Post-War Tensions
The silent Carmens were only the start of an extremely lengthy conversation that has actually existed in between Mérimée’s novella, Bizet’s opera, and also film. Film Carmens were made sporadically throughout the 1930s, yet a cluster of post-war Carmens made the femme fatale famous aobtain. Or fairly, post-war national politics and issues of racial ehigh quality in the UNITED STATE made Carmales pertinent aacquire. Here Carmen’s sexuality is described not as an excess of personality yet as a attribute of ethnicity. In both Mérimée’s and also Bizet’s works, Carmales is an exotic outsider, a "gypsy"whose coupling via the Basque Don José is very near an act of miscegenation. This is not precisely Osauto Hammerstein’s analysis. In reality, one of the criticisms of his remake of Bizet’s opera right into the Broadway musical Carmen Jones in 1943 for an all-Babsence actors is that it erased the ethnic and also racial anxiety in Mérimée’s original. Although some of that stress is preserved in the linguistic colloquialisms, the “dis” and “dat” that Hammerstein closely inserted only right into the songs and also nowright here else in the dialogue. These fissures were uncomfortable in 1943 and also, also more so, in 1954, the year of Brvery own v. Board of Education and Otto Preminger’s film variation of the musical.
Against the backdrop of the civil civil liberties movement, as film chronicler Jeff Smith points out, the all-Black cast oddly kept the fantasy of “sepaprice however equal” and also was a stvariety throwago to the segregated race movies of the 1920s and also 30s. But it starred Dorothy Dandridge and also Harry Belafonte and also broke racial obstacles as soon as Dandridge ended up being the first African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her Carguys. Racial national politics additionally colored the reception of the film not just because Preminger was having an affair through Dandridge but bereason he insisted on re-voicing both leads. Dandridge and also Belafonte were establimelted renowned singers, but bereason of the range and also vocal requirements of Bizet’s music, Preminger called them via opera singers, Belafonte with the young, African-Amerideserve to tenor LeVern Hutcherchild, however Dandridge controversially via a young white opera student called Marilyn Horne.The film is frequently attributed via helping to desegregate not just Hollylumber however the opera home too. As opera scholar Susan McClary listed, Dandridge influenced the increase of the Black Carguys which thrust Leontyne Price to fame in the 1964 through a recording of Carguys and also Grace Bumbry to accase in Karajan’s filmed Carmales in 1967.
A still from the 1954 film Carmen Jones.

The 1980s: The Feminist Carmen
Bizet’s heirs never before favored Hammerstein’s musical version of the opera and blocked screenings of Preminger’s Carmales Jones in France till 1981 when Bizet’s opera lastly gone into public domain. That event might have motivated an additional rash of Carmen films, although the pushing political worry of feminism, which in the U.S. peaked through the faiattract to pass the Equal Rights Amendment in 1982, can also have actually also prompted it. In 1983 and 1984 no less than 4 film Carmens appeared, including Carlos Saura’s flamenco Carmales, Francesco Rosi’s Carmen, Peter Brook’s La Tragédie de Carmales, and Jean-Luc Goddard’s Prenom: Carmen. Within this group, Rosi’s Carmales stands out for providing a literal analysis of Bizet’s opera and among the most prominent recontextualizations of Carmen. Rosi"s is not the only film to reinsurance claim Carguys as Spanish quite than French, yet it is among the few to authenticate Carmen within a area. Some of this, Dr. McClary rightfully points out, is completed by casting American Julia Migenes Johnkid in the title duty. Her light soprano has very little bit of the deep throated sultriness that a lot of mezzos lug to the function. But Rosi additionally recasts Carmen not as a monstrous seductress, however as a daughter, a component of a community where athletic dancing and sharp verbal abilities among woguys are prized, even commonarea. This Carmales dances via one of the neighborhood’s grandfathers, whose elegantly nimble and economical flamenco skills are a far better and also more enjoyable enhance for her than the stiff yet passionately-voiced Don José (Placido Domingo). Within this film’s area Carguys is not the monstrous, exotic outsider; Don José is.
A poster for Carmen: A Hip Hopera.
The 2000s: MTV and More

In today’s mashup culture, Kip Collin’s MTV Carmen: A Hip Hopera starring Beyoncé Knowles and Mekhi Phifer from 2001 is remarkable for its attempt to upday not simply Carmales but Carmen Jones. Beyoncé’s capacity to command our attention visually and sonically, and also to indicate the feminism that would eventually overcome her stunning visual album Lemonade (2016), make for compelling viewing. The two influential post-colonial films of Carmales are staged in Africa. Mark Dornford-May’s 2005 manufacturing U-Carmen eKahayelitsha, collection in the slums of Cape Tvery own, South Africa via the libretto recreated in the Bantu language of Xhosa, and Joseph Gaye Ramaka’s 2001 manufacturing Karmen Gei collection in Senegal, are also striking. These all-black productions root Carmen in an authentic community where centuries of early american oppression still form concepts of political liberty and also identity. But while Dornford-May’s radically preserves Bizet’s music, through Pauline Malefance purportedly singing her arias live on-set, in Karmales Gei the mesmerizing Djeinaba Diop Gai embodies Carguys more via dance than song, her seduction backed by the effective sound of 40 Senegalese sabar dummers. These 2first century African Carmens point earlier to Nietzsche’s 1ninth century observation that Carmen’s music is cheerful, “not in a French or German… however in an African means.” Perhaps Carmen is long lasting to displaces of geography, race, and also national politics bereason at heart it is a misunderstanding of all of these points. The character is constantly unactual, unfamiliar, or exotic to someone. What neither Nietzsche, nor anyone else could have actually predicted, but, is just how vital the cinema has come to be in constructing Carmales, for seeing and hearing the exotic, and also for both knowledge and also misunderstanding ourselves. So just how will Carguys be revealed next? How will Paul Curran’s Carmen contribute to this inter-medial conversation?Let’s see!
A still from the South Afrihave the right to film U-Carguys eKahayelitsha.

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Carmales plays May 4-19, 2019 at McCaw Hall.