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“Carmen” at SUNY Oswego, 10/28

1 October 2009

Carlos Saura’s Carmen (1983) will be screened on Wednesday, October 28, at 7 PM in the Campus Center Auditorium (118) on the SUNY Oswego campus.

Conceived by Mr. Saura and Antonio Gades, the famed dancer-choreographer and former director of the National Ballet of Spain, this ”Carmen” combines dance, Bizet music and a modern if very slim narrative to find its own contemporary equivalent to the passionate 19th-century grandeur of the opera.

Mr. Saura, who directed the film, and Mr. Gades, who choreographed it and plays a central role, use as the frame of their film the story of a dance company rehearsing ”Carmen,” a production that seems to be as freely conceived as the film itself….

Virtually the entire film is set in a large rehearsal hall in which Antonio and his dancer-singers, in practice clothes, go through the key scenes of their production, dancing sometimes to Bizet music – taken from a recording of the opera starring Regina Resnick and Mario Del Monaco – and sometimes to flamenco music provided by the troupe’s own musicians.

In this way the film serves up bits and pieces of the opera to surprisingly moving effect. There’s a riveting sequence near the start of the movie when Paco De Lucia, the guitarist in the movie as he is in life, adapts a Bizet melody to become a flamenco lament. The opera’s fight between Carmen and another woman, who also works in the cigarette factory, becomes a dance of the sort of blinding vicious energy that one seldom ever encounters in an opera house. In this way, too, Mr. Saura succeeds in rediscovering many of the emotions that may elude today’s opera audiences. (Vincent Canby, The New York Times, 10/20/83)

The screening is free.

Carmen.Saura

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