Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Evolution of Carmen



Carmen Jones is a 1954 musical film produced and directed by Otto Preminger. An adaptation of the 1943 Broadway musical of the same name, Carmen Jones is a retelling of Georges Bizet's opera Carmen set during World War II with an all African-American cast. The film stars Harry Belafonte, Dorothy Dandridge, Pearl Bailey, Olga James, and Joe Adams, also featuring Brock Peters (his film debut), Roy Glenn, Nick Stewart, and Diahann Carroll (her film debut). Despite Miss Dandridge's singing career, she is not the Operatic Mezzo-Soprano the music calls for, and her voice was dubbed by the very young Marilyn Horne in her first high-profile job. Belafonte and Adams were also dubbed.

The film was a critical and commercial success, and proved to be a major star-making vehicle for Dorothy Dandridge, who portrayed the title character. Carmen Jones won the 1955 Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, and was nominated for two Academy Awards. Dandridge, nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, was the first African-American so honored. The film was also entered into the 1955 Cannes Film Festival.

In 1992, Carmen Jones was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Carmen: A Hip Hopera is a 2001 musical film produced for television by MTV and directed by Robert Townsend. The film stars Beyoncé Knowles, Mos Def, Rah Digga, Wyclef Jean, Mekhi Phifer, Da Brat, Joy Bryant, Jermaine Dupri and Lil' Bow Wow. It is based upon Georges Bizet's opera, Carmen, set in Philadelphia and Los Angeles in modern times, and features a mostly original hip-hop/R&B score in place of Bizet's opera. The movie received mainly negative reviews. To date, it is the second major attempt at an African-American adaptation of the opera. -Wikipedia


These two movies as well as numerous other film adaptations were inspired by Carmen the French opéra comique by Georges Bizet. The libretto is by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on the novella of the same title by Prosper Mérimée, first published in 1845, itself influenced by the narrative poem The Gypsies (1824) by Alexander Pushkin. The opera premiered at the Opéra-Comique of Paris on 3 March 1875, but its opening run was denounced by the majority of critics. -Wikipedia


The Evolution of Carmen





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