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 Post subject: 'Carmen' by La Cuadra De Sevilla
PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2002 5:20 am 
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The first of the London critics give 'Carmen' by La Cuadra De Sevilla a firm thumbs up. The Evening Standard pushes out the boat and has two reviews and a comparison of the three versions that are coming to London over the next few months.<P>******************************************<P><B>An assault on the senses</B><BR>Carmen, La Cuadra De Sevilla, Santisimo<BR>Salvador Tavora<BR>Rating: 2* (out of 3)<BR>by Patrick Marmion for The Evening Standard<P><BR>Eat your heart out Georges Bizet. Operatic is too weak a word for Salvador Távora's ritualistic Andalusian version of the gypsy girl's story first seen over here in 1998. This is Carmen not as Bizet had her, but as Távora was once told of her by his great-great-grandmother, wreathed in a cloud of cigar smoke. It's a performance initiated with a screeching fanfare of military buglers, flamenco danced to rippling guitar music and featuring wailing women. <P>Távora's aim is not to present Carmen as the traditional raven-haired hussy, but as a liberated working-class heroine. She does, as usual, fall for the dashing officer Don José and he duly kills a comrade to defend her honour. <P><A HREF="http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/dynamic/hottx/theatre/dance_review.html?in_review_id=498463&in_review_text_id=464509" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A><P>****************************************<P><B>Carmen</B><BR>La Cuadra De Sevilla, Santisimo<BR>Salvador Tavora<BR>Rating: 2* (out of 3)<BR>by Luke Jennings for The Evening Standard<P><BR>This flamenco production by Salvador Tavorà is not the operatic Carmen of Georges Bizet and Prosper Mérimée. Instead Tavorà, a former bullfighter, offers a version of the tale that was handed down to him by his great-grandmother in his native Andalucia, supposedly based on real-life events. <P>Carmen de Triana, a gipsy, is an employee of the Seville Tobacco Factory, and Don Jose Lizarrabengoa is a Basque soldier. <P><A HREF="http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/dynamic/hottx/theatre/dance_review.html?in_review_id=498463&in_review_text_id=461841" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A><P>***************************************<P><B>Battle of the Carmens</B><BR>By Luke Jennings for The Evening Standard<P><BR>With its sultry Spanish setting, tantalising score, and themes of lust, jealousy and blood, it is little wonder that Bizet's Carmen is one of opera's surest-fire hits. Every year the story of Carmen Triana - the gipsy cigarette-girl murdered by her soldier lover - is retold in different ways. In London there are currently no less than three major productions in preparation: at the Royal Opera House, Sadlers Wells, and the Royal Albert Hall. <P><A HREF="http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/dynamic/hottx/review.html?in_review_id=502275&in_review_text_id=464707" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A><P>***************************************<P><B>Carmen</B><BR>Sadler's Wells, London<BR>By Sanjoy Roy for The Guardian <P> <BR>A sell-out success in the UK three years ago, La Cuadra de Sevilla's flamenco production of Carmen is back on tour. For this version, choreographer and company founder Salvador Tavora drew on stories of the "real" Carmen that he had heard from his great-great-great grandmother, a tobacco factory worker in 19th-century Seville. Rather than the exotic fantasy of transgressive sexuality made famous by Mérimée's novel and Bizet's opera, Tavora roots Carmen's story in the social conditions of the time. She struggles for self-determination against the disadvantages of being a woman, a worker and a Gypsy. Symbols of establishment order surround her: uniformed men, a military band, an ornate ecclesiastical arch hung with bells.<P><A HREF="http://www.guardian.co.uk/reviews/story/0,3604,652946,00.html" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: 'Carmen' by La Cuadra De Sevilla
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2002 1:03 am 
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Review from Clement Crisp in The Financial Times.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>I felt sorry for the horse. It was large, Persil-white, and was put through some faintly rhythmic steppings as a fragment of Bizet's Carmen was blasted at us, amplified within an inch of its (and our) lives. Carmen, meanwhile, was posturing in front of the animal, whether offering herself to the nag or its rider was not exactly clear. The poor beast, which looked as of it were longing to bolt - and I don't blame it: so was I - was one of the culminating effects in Salvador Tavora's Carmen, which opened a season at Sadler's Wells on Tuesday. It purports to be the Ur-text for the cigar-girl's garish history, told to Tavora by his great-great-grandmother, and is billed as an "Andalusian Opera". You could, as they say, have fooled me.<P><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://globalarchive.ft.com/globalarchive/article.html?id=020221001575&query=dance" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A><P>And Donald Hutera in The Times<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>IT STARTS with the scream of bugles and ends with incense and bells. In between comes the rat-a-tat of rapid-fire heel work, lashings of full-throttle singing and a beautiful white stallion prancing to a beat. <BR>These are among the sounds and spectacle of Carmen, by the Spanish troupe La Cuadra de Sevilla. Director Salvador Távora’s flamenco-steeped musical dance-drama first played London in 1998. The show has returned to Sadler’s Wells as part of a month-long tour that also includes Edinburgh, Salford and Southampton. <P><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,684-214062,00.html" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A><p>[This message has been edited by Joanne (edited February 21, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: 'Carmen' by La Cuadra De Sevilla
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2002 1:16 am 
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An article in The Independent that talks about the appeal of Carmen today.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>In 1875, composer Georges Bizet's reputation as the toast of Paris was firmly established and it was with justifiable confidence that he opened his latest production at the Opera Comique. His subject was Carmen, a rebellious gypsy tobacco factory worker in early 19th-century Seville who plays fast and loose with lovers and the law and finally pays with her life.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/theatre/features/story.jsp?story=120668" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A>


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 Post subject: Re: 'Carmen' by La Cuadra De Sevilla
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2002 4:05 am 
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Carmen<BR>Cuadra de Sevilla<BR>Sadler’s Wells <BR>February, 2002<P>Looking down on the heads of flamenco dancers in a room with no inherent atmosphere is always a recipe for disaster. Flamenco is normally performed on a stage that rises above you. In that way you see the intricate footwork of heels repetitively and rhythmically beating on the hard wood. Wafts of smoke and the heady smell of a ripe Rioja all add to the ambience. Of course, Sadler’s Wells cannot provide that. And now that it has a plush, comfortable auditorium, it looks less like a bohemian bar in downtown Sevilla than ever. <P>But I am being a flamenco snob. In Salvador Tavola’s dance-drama version of “Carmen” the dance is not an end in itself - it is used in service to the story. Most “Carmen” productions follow Prosper Merimee’s well-known story about the gypsy from Seville - Bizet’s opera being the first, and most popular, version. Tavola tells the novel story of the working-class heroine that his great-great (opinions vary as to the number of “greats”) grandmother had known. Instead of the gypsy seductress of Merimee’s story, Carmen is a solid “cigarrera” who works at the Seville Tobacco Factory and is a member of the cigar-makers’ trade union. The Don Jose she falls for in this story is a Basque soldier, and the bullfighter that eventually catches her eye, is a picador this time. Picadors ride horses so that they are elevated above the bull to enable them to stick the elaborately decorated pegs into the back of the bull’s neck which causes the animal to bleed, thereby weakening it sufficiently to allow the matador to finish the job. So you know what kind of guy he is! Tavola is well-known in bullfighting circles but, I am reliably informed by a Spaniard in the know , if he did, as certain sources claim, have a bullfighting career, it must have been shortlived because said Spaniard knew nothing of it.<P>Tavola's take on the Carmen story is good enough. It is not a bad idea to use flamenco to narrate the story of “Carmen”. Indeed, Carlos Saura’s film starring Antonio Gades manages it admirably. (In the film a dance school is in training to put the flamenco version of the story on stage. The teacher/choreographer falls for the dancer playing Carmen and disaster ensues. I will not spoil the story by revealing the outcome. Truly, it is a brilliant film.) However, whatever you do with the story of Carmen, the Carmen, whether she be dancer, singer or actress, has to have dramatic presence and be charming and charismatic, even if she is not, ultimately, a sexy seductress of a gypsy. Lalo Tejada as Carmen does not cut the figure that is needed. Which means that the rather indifferent flamenco we see and hear becomes all the more noticeable. <P>There were some memorable theatrical moments. The beautiful horse dancing on stage, which is the scene depicted on the eye-catching advertising poster plastered around London, is great theatre. The bugle band, screeching its music as the curtain rises at the beginning, provides atmosphere (although I looked forward to snatches of the score from Bizet’s opera which periodically restored the damage from the assault to the eardrums made by the bugles). Yet taking twenty long minutes to die histrionically, as several of the characters do, is unforgivable, particularly when coupled with sloppy footwork. I have seen much better flamenco. This flamenco consists of constant heel drumming, amplified by microphone, with no drama in the steps and movement by which the performers cross the stage and interact with each other. Good flamenco does not need a microphone, and amplifying the droning noise of repetitive heel beats which demonstrate neither rhythm nor variation, just shouts “naff”. Don Jose and Carmen circulate around each other in what the music tells us is a passionate moment. They tap their heels at each other, each with an arm stuck rigidly in the air. Alas, their stodgy movements represent neither a development of the dance that is flamenco, nor a portrayal of it in its beautiful authenticity. <P>The newspaper critics have concentrated on the interesting storyline and the originality of the production. They seem to skirt politely around the quality of the flamenco dancing. Rumour has it that Tavola has choreographed a piece for a bull and a picador and horse in his native Sevilla. Now that WOULD be interesting.<P><BR>[This message has been edited by Emma Pegler (edited February 26, 2002).]<P>[This message has been edited by Emma Pegler (edited February 26, 2002).]<p>[This message has been edited by Emma Pegler (edited February 26, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: 'Carmen' by La Cuadra De Sevilla
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2002 11:16 pm 
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<B>How to flog a dead horse</B><BR>The stallions are the only spontaneous thing about this Carmen - and even they could be whipped into shape. Jann Parry also reviews Ballet Argentina and La Bayadere for The Observer.<P><BR>Carmen La Cuadra de Sevilla, Sadler's Wells, London EC1<BR>Ballet Argentino Peacock Theatre, London WC2, <BR>La Bayadère Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House, London WC2 <P>Lots of Latino pawing the stage last week, and not just by the horse. A snowy white stallion piaffed its hoofs to Bizet's 'Habanera' in the flamenco Carmen at Sadler's Wells (continuing this week before touring to Salford, Edinburgh and Southampton). Unlike the other performers, it's a dainty creature, kept on a tight rein. It is supposed to be the rider who takes Carmen's fancy. She seems more enamoured of the horse, tugging its forelock and flaunting her charms while it paces politely. <P><A HREF="http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4361882,00.html" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: 'Carmen' by La Cuadra De Sevilla
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2002 1:59 pm 
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I'm an easy-going sort of guy and I do enjoy a lot of the dance I see. Furthermore I really like Flamenco. So, as I was walking past Sadler's Wells at 6.30pm, on the spur of the moment I decided to give La Cuadra de Sevilla's 'Carmen' a try, knowing that some had liked it and others had not. I managed to get a very good seat and settled back with an open mind. <P>After 30 minutes I left. The dancing during that time was uniformly 'dramatic' without the light and shade that provides the contrast to highlight effective drama. The choreography of the scene where the soldiers beat up Carmen seemed crude and repetitive. Often the dancers stayed in one spot and seemed constrained rather than enjoying the freedom that gives flamenco much of its thrill. <P>But worst of all was the music - the 'bugles and drums band of Santisimo Cristo de Las Tres Caidas' has a lot to answer for. My ears hurt from the shrill, loud sound of the 20 buglers. And I realised that having brought these guys across from Spain we were going to hear a lot of them before the end of the evening. In a street procession in Seville I can believe that it works, but in the confined space of Sadler's Wells it was a nightmare for this listener. It reminds me of 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' story about the loudest rock band in the Universe, who were so loud that they best enjoyed listening from inside an orbitting spaceship……preferably orbitting around a different planet. <P>In the programme, Salvador Távore, the creator of this re-working of the 'Carmen' story tells us that other versions have, '…taken the cold, purely artistic view,' and '…they cannot capture something they have never been a part of.' Well, I would rather see the versions by Antonio Gades or Didi Veldman any day. <P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited February 26, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: 'Carmen' by La Cuadra De Sevilla
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2002 1:13 am 
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Well, Stuart - I told you so!


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 Post subject: Re: 'Carmen' by La Cuadra De Sevilla
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2002 7:58 am 
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Image <BR><small>La Cuadra De Sevilla's Carmen</small><P><B>Neigh bother</B><BR>Sex, passion, betrayal and a femme fatale -- it's all in there. But a social conscience, revolutionary politics and a white stallion? Meet the real Carmen<BR>By Ellie Carr for The Sunday Herald.<BR> <P>Minx. Trollop. Man-eater. Sorceress. Vamp. Whore. All words at one time or another used to describe the Sevillian gypsy made famous by Bizet's 1875 opera Carmen.<BR>However, according to Salvador T‡vora -- the tiny, pony-tailed Andalusian toreador-turned-theatre-director who brings his radical version of Carmen (subtitled 'An Andalusian Flamenco Folk Opera') to Edinburgh this month -- we've got it all wrong about history's most famous flirt.<P>Even those who have never seen Bizet's opera know something of the story. What they know tends to go something like this: Carmen is a gypsy flamenco dancer who works in a cigar factory, catfights with other gypsies, seduces a soldier named Don JosZ (what a slapper), dumps the soldier for a matador (even bigger slapper), then gets stabbed to death by the jealous Don JosZ (a warning to all potential slappers).<P><A HREF="http://www.sundayherald.com/22691" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: 'Carmen' by La Cuadra De Sevilla
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2002 9:05 am 
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That picture is amazing and suggests a lot more than you actually get.


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 Post subject: Re: 'Carmen' by La Cuadra De Sevilla
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2002 1:55 am 
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<B>Flamenco on fire </B><BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>She has been immortalised on stage and screen the world over. But to Salvador Távora, Carmen is more a childhood memory than a theatrical legend. As a small boy growing up in Spain, Távora was often regaled by stories from his great-great-grandmother, a woman over 100, who had worked in the Seville Tobacco Factory alongside none other than Carmen of Triana. To a young seven-year-old, it all sounded exciting and adventurous. <P>The tale of a poor gypsy woman leading factory uprisings, fighting for women’s rights at a time when they were unheard of and dying at the hands of her lover, seemed little more than that - just a tale. It wasn’t until Távora grew up and became privy to Prosper Mérimée’s novella and Bizet’s opera that he realised the importance of his relative’s former colleague. And the distortion that had taken place in the name of art. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.thescotsman.co.uk/s2.cfm?id=240012002" TARGET=_blank><B>more...</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: 'Carmen' by La Cuadra De Sevilla
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2002 12:18 am 
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<B>Carmen</B><BR>Review by Kelly Apter in The Scotsman<P>YOU may not understand what is coming out of their mouths, but there’s no doubting what’s in their hearts. The cast of Salvador Távora’s "Andalusian Flamenco Folk Opera" sing, dance and play their way through this 90-minute show with a rare passion. At times, we are no longer in Edinburgh but transported to Távora’s Spanish homeland, so steeped in authenticity is his work. Having learned about the real Carmen from his great, great grandmother, Távora is well placed to demythologise this strong woman of history. Usually portrayed as a wild cat man-eater, the Carmen of Prosper Merimee and Bizet has no place in La Cuadra De Sevilla’s production. Instead, he wants us to see her as a champion for working-class women, a free spirit who flew in the face of public opinion. <P><A HREF="http://www.thescotsman.co.uk/s2.cfm?id=240012002" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: 'Carmen' by La Cuadra De Sevilla
PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2002 2:58 pm 
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I'm glad this reviewer got so much out of this work, but it left me cold and deafened.

Carmen @ The Lowry
By Belinda Hanks for Manchester on-line

TALK about raw passion. Anyone who walks out of Salvador Tavora's Flamenco-style Carmen without sweat dripping from their brow must be suffering from sensory deprivation.

As in Bizet's Carmen, the story itself is explosive - full of lust and tragedy - however, anyone expecting the classical soft-cell version will be disappointed.

Instead, La Cuarda de Sevilla's version of Carmen - a beautiful gypsy cigarette-maker trapped by social class and revolution - is a fiery Spanish tale, told, like the original myth, by the old Cigar makers from Triana.

click for more

<small>[ 10-25-2002, 17:00: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: 'Carmen' by La Cuadra De Sevilla
PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2003 1:39 am 
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Carmen
By Diane Parkes, Evening Mail


The story of Seville's most famous gypsy girl Carmen comes to Birmingham Hippodrome, but if the audience is expecting Bizet's opera they are in for a surprise.

This Carmen is the story stripped of its beauty to a raw energy and passion. Instead of the melodious opera score we are blasted with bugles, drums and guitars, the singing is gitano music and the dancing is pure flamenco.

Sevillan Salvador Tavora has gone back to the original Carmen legend and recreated a character who is gypsy, freedom fighter, feminist and lover. She is no postcard flamenco dancer but a working class heroine determined to fight for what she wants - even if it costs the ultimate price.

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