the sistrums are tinkling

The following is an extract from a synopsis of Carmen, thoughtfully provided some years ago by the Paris Opera for the benefit of its English and American patrons:

image found here

Carmen is a cigar-makeress from a tabago factory who loves with Don Jose of the mounting guard. Carmen takes a flower from her corsets and lances it to Don Jose (Duet: ‘Talk me of my mother’). There is a noise inside the tabago factory and the revolting cigar-makeress bursts into the stage. Carmen is arrested and Don Jose is ordered to mounting guard her but Carmen subduces him and he lets her escape.

Don Jose found here

ACT 2. The Tavern. Carmen, Frasquita, Mercedes, Zuniga, Morales. Carmen’s aria (‘the sistrums are tinkling’). Enter Escamillio, a balls-fighter. Enter two smugglers (Duet: ‘We have in mind a business’) but Carmen refuses to penetrate because Don Jose has liberated from prison. He just now arrives (Aria: ‘Slop, here who comes!’) but hear are the bugles singing his retreat. Don Jose will leave and draws his sword. Called by carmen shrieks the two smugglers interfere with her but Don Jose is bound to dessert, he will follow into them (final chorus: ‘Opening sky wandering life’)…

one of the 10 most expensive desserts in the world found here

ACT4, a place in Seville. Procession of balls-fighters, the roaring of the balls heard in the arena. Escamillio enters. (Aria and chorus: ‘Toreador, toreador, All hail the balls of a Toreador’.) Enter Don Jose (ARIA: I do not threaten, I besooch you‘.) but Carmen repels himwants to join with Escamillio now chaired by the crowd. Don Jose stabs her (Aria: ‘Oh rupture, rupture, you may arrest me, I did kill der’) he sings ‘Oh my beautiful Carmen, my subductive Carmen…’

Deep fried bull’s balls found here

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47 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thankyou nursemyra. I have learnt two new words this morning. Sistrum – a musical instrument, and tabago – an old word for tobacco.

    • they were new for me too

  2. “Carmen” was my introduction to opera and is still my favourite.
    But I’ve never read anything so deliciously funny! Bless them for giving us non-Francoise a translation.

    • It is both delicious and funny isn’t it? Perfect description

  3. I desperately want to see that production of Carmen! I’d like to see how the director shows Carmen “subducing” the dashing, ballsy Don Jose.

    • Sub`duceĀ“
      v. t. 1. To withdraw; to take away.
      2. To subtract by arithmetical operation; to deduct.

      She does it with mathematics

  4. “Slop, here who comes!” So, the University of Michigan were just heeding advice in an Opera?

    • Haha… nice tie in

  5. This really should have a health and safety warning. I practically killed myself laughing. Presumably tabago as in Winnetabago. The mind boggles at the ferocious balls-fighting and the interfering smugglers….

    • Nearly all my posts need a health and safety warning ;-)

  6. I’ve never seen an opera before. Should probably put it in my ‘to do’ list.

    • I have the same confession to make Terra

      • Really? Start with “Carmen Jones”(the movie) and then “Carmen”…stick with the “athletic” rather than the static and you can’t go wrong.

        (Trust me- my former neighbour was a pro)

      • Here is the lady layin’ down the old black magic.

        If I love you, watch your ass! (loose translation…)

      • I’m afraid I don’t like opera. Especially the sound of sopranos. Really puts me on edge!

  7. deep fried bull’s balls ?

    another reason I’m glad to be a vegetarian ! :lol:

    • Apparently they taste like chicken…..

      • Damn! I missed this from my” tas’es like cheeken “post!:-)

  8. Hilarious! Presumably, the earth moves when he finds her subductive zone. That would be the rupture perhaps?

  9. My high-school physics teacher was an opera fan and would show us opera videos in class. I don’t remember any balls-fighting in Carmen, but maybe they edited out those scenes because we were minors.

    On a totally unrelated note, have you ever heard of Mary Toft? She seems like she’d be a natural for the Gimcrack.

    • Yes, poor woman. And would you trust a quack named John Howard!

      • Quack quack quack ;-)

  10. Are you sure this wasn’t in Suntory Hall in Tokyo? It’s perfect Engrish.

  11. Like the Carmen poster. What could we call the dorm – ” S. Dali post realism” ?

  12. Myra, where do you get the ideas for all of these wondrous posts?

    Hope you really REALLY enjoyed your trip abroad.

    • the ideas mostly come from the books I read. And yes, the trip was fabulous

  13. Hahahahahahahaha Brilliant? A subductive Carmen? Like tectonic plate I daresay she is skilled in the art of subduction. Who would not love a woman who really makes the earth move!

  14. It’s like an operatic version of the telephone game…

  15. Hilarious! How did you find that?

    • Thanks to you and your Christmas Crackers darlin’

  16. That was awesome. I can’t quite figure out what Carmen did that got her arrested, though. I guess she was mean to the revolting cigar-makeress.

  17. unfortunately, i was bound to dessert over the weekend… going to have to do some serious cardio as penance. perhaps some balls-fighting?

  18. I adored ‘Carmen Jones’ – the film Preminger made with Dorothy Dandridge.

    • Oh… Dorothy Dandridge… she was gorgeous

  19. I’ve seen some pretty revolting things on stage. And paid good money for it!

    Side note: Congrats on the new arrival. Will refrain from making cheap, all too easy, pussy jokes. I don’t work blue.

  20. I love watching the women roll cigars on their thighs.

  21. Was certain that you’d find a photo of the mounting guard. And was she arresting for lancing the flower from her corset?

  22. i fought the balls and the balls won/ i fought the balls and the balls won… here in the states we refer to them thar bulls balls as Rocky Mountain Oysters.

    • “I fought the Rocky Mountain Oysters and the Rocky Mountain Oysters won” does not scan very well!

  23. No wonder he was singing about “Rupture, rupture” with all that balls fighting going on.

  24. Mounting guards and balls-fighters…

    Please, NM, make the mental images stop.

  25. Another phrase to enter my regular usage: Slop, here who comes!

    In an effort to see if I liked culture, I tried opera a few times. If it had been accompanied by explanation like this, I’d probably be more cultured now. :)

  26. It seems you had something on your mind when you wrote that, but I’m not sure what.

  27. Well, I THOUGHT I understood “Carmen” up until today.

  28. Julia Migenes(in that clip from Sledpress) gives extra heat to “habanera.”

  29. I’m not one for S&M, but I’d rather like to be bound to dessert.


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