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CLASSICAL  November 2006

CLASSICAL November 2006

Subject:

The Death of Zuniga or Jose Navarro - Weapon of Mass Destruction

From:

Janos Gereben <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 22 Nov 2006 16:21:48 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (54 lines)

This is a kind of half-buttock'd apology to the stage director of the
San Francisco Opera's "Carmen," which opened last night.

My review [http://tinyurl.com/yy346p] included this:

   The circus music of the Overture heralded what was to come on
   stage.  Local veteran Laurie Feldman (now Santoliquido) made
   sure the clowns were sent in repeatedly, poor Ricardo Herrera's
   Zuniga made to prance and goosestep, a cross between Franco and
   Chaplin, stabbed to death for good measure at the end of Act 2
   by Don Jose. We had entirely too many dramaturgs in the house
   during the previous regime, but perhaps one or two could have
   stayed over to inform the director that tweaking the story to
   have honor-junkie Don Jose kill a man whose hands are tied behind
   his back makes little sense.

And now, I'd like to add this:

   According to some who had worked with Ponnelle, the idea for
   Zuniga's murder came from him, in reference to hints in the
   original novella. For a stage director disregarding many other
   Ponnelle ideas, it's unfortunate to stick with one that could
   have been easily dropped.

Jose's killing of Zuniga is one of those operatic tempests-in-teaspoons
that are both entertaining and unlikely to bring peace to the Middle
East.  So, I am doing total submersion, with a keen realization of the
triviality of it all.  And yet...

I do not recall in previous Ponnelle "Carmen" productions that Zuniga
is killed after the perfectly sufficient -

<<(Zuniga is lead away) [NOT to return, in the libretto, at least]
CARMEN
Es-tu des notres maintenant? Are you one of us now?
JOS=C9
Il le faut bien! I have to be!>>

On the other hand, how could I possibly remember what I saw 20 years
ago, still trying to figure out where I put my keys five minutes ago.
On yet another hand, there is that previous (undiscussed) murder before
Jose joined the army, and we all know what he does in Act 4.  So, perhaps
he was a killing machine, damn the libretto.

Those who forego turkey-and-stuffing tomorrow in order to do research
hereto are also solicited to provide Jose's last name.  "Navarro," which
is used here and there, is - of course - stands for "of Navarro." He
must have a

family name, lest in real life he was of Siamese (not modern Thai) origin.

Janos Gereben/SF
www.sfcv.org
[log in to unmask]

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