Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Amazon Prime's "Utopia" Lifts From Bizet's "Carmen" For New Ad

A new television ad for Amazon Prime's new show Utopia features a deconstructed version of Bizet's famous Habanera "L'amour est un oiseau rebelle" from Carmen"Utopia is an upcoming American drama web television series adapted by Gillian Flynn from the 2013 British original. It is scheduled to premiere on September 25, 2020, on Prime Video." The plot is as follows: "Utopia is a conspiracy thriller that follows a group of young fans who come together when they discover that the conspiracy in an elusive comic, Utopia, is real. The comic foretells the demise of humanity and the world as we know it, thrusting this group of underdogs to embark on a high-stakes twisted adventure to use what they uncover to save themselves, each other and ultimately humanity." 
"The score of the aria was adapted from the habanera 'El Arreglito ou la Promesse de mariage,' by the Spanish musician Sebastián Iradier, first published in 1863, which Bizet thought to be a folk song. When others told him he had used something written by a composer who had died 10 years earlier, he added a note of its derivation in the first edition of the vocal score which he himself prepared. Although the French libretto of the complete opéra comique was written by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, the words of the habanera originated from Bizet. The Habanera was first performed by Galli-Marié at the Opéra-Comique on 3 March 1875. Bizet, having removed during rehearsals his first version of Carmen's entrance song, in 3/4 with a refrain in 6/8, rewrote the Habanera several times before he (and Galli-Marié) were satisfied with it. Although Bizet kept the basic layout of the Iradier song, which has each verse in D minor and each refrain in the tonic major, he let go of the long ritornelli and second half material, and by adding chromaticism, variations in the refrain and harmonic interest in the accompaniment, made it a memorable number. The reharmonization, addition of triplets in the vocal line and the flute in its low register add to the effect."

Watch the Amazon commercial and a full clean version of Bizet's famous aria after the jump.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Sapphic European Opera Soprano Gets Lobotomy In "Ratched"

Harriet Sansom Harris plays the chain-smoking diva.

Ryan Murphy's latest exploration for Netflix is Ratched. Described as "an American psychological thriller drama web television series about the character of the same name from Ken Kesey's 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Created by Evan Romansky and developed by Ryan Murphy, the series stars Sarah Paulson in the title role and serves as a prequel to the novel. It premiered on Netflix on September 18, 2020." Netflix adds: "Ratched is a suspenseful drama series that tells the origin story of asylum nurse Mildred Ratched. In 1947, Mildred arrives in Northern California to seek employment at a leading psychiatric hospital where new and unsettling experiments have begun on the human mind. On a clandestine mission, Mildred presents herself as the perfect image of what a dedicated nurse should be, but the wheels are always turning and as she begins
Barbaric Practice: If opera didn't do Ingrid in, this surgery might!
to infiltrate the mental health care system and those within it, Mildred's stylish exterior belies a growing darkness that has long been smoldering within, revealing that true monsters are made, not born." One character, a faded opera singer named Ingrid, appears in two episodes. She is equal parts Zinka Milanov and Eva Marton. When describing her repertoire, she says "I sang all the major dramatic roles from Brünnhilde to Turandot." Finding herself lost now that her career is over, she has arrived at the asylum for  new revolutionary procedure, which turns out to be a lobotomy. Things get a bit more complicated when it's revealed she is also a lesbian, something the hospital is trying to "cure" as well. In the second appearance of Ingrid, the scene opens with Puccini's aria "Tu che di gel sei cinta" from Turandot. Although Ingrid herself would have sung the title role of the opera, this from the character of Liù resonates with several themes within the show. 
The rest of the Ratched cast includes Sharon Stone, Sarah Paulsen, Judy Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Finn Wittrock, Jon Jon Briones, and Charlie Carver. See more stills of Ingrid from Ratched, and see videos of the above aria as well as others that Ingrid would have performed, after the jump. [Source, Source]
Naughty Nurse: Sarah Paulsen plays Mildred Ratched.