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Archive for July 16th, 2009

july nyc 004

by Sam Juliano

     The final evening of the eleven day ‘Summertime Classics’ series at Avery Fisher Hall concluded on Friday, July 10, when the New York Philharmonic, under the guidance of guest conductor (and host) Bramwell Tovey, performed some venerated French classics, including Ravel’s Bolero and choice selections from both Bizet’s Carmen and Saint-Saens’s Samson and Delilah.  The sell-out crowd roared their approval for the show’s soprano, Denyce Graves, especially after she flawlessly negotiated one of opera’s most beautiful and difficult arias, “Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix” from Samson.  Earlier, the pretty soprano, wearing a yellow satin dress, performed the famed “Habanera’ and ‘Seguidilla’ from Carmen, after the orchestra rendered a vibrant reading of the beloved ‘March of the Toreodors.’  After the intermission, the New York Philharmonic swung into dazzling form with outstanding readings of Bolero and Berlioz’s La Corsaire Overture. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(France/Spain 1977 103m) DVD1/2

Aka. Cet obscure object du désir

The Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus

p  Serge Silberman  d  Luis Buñuel  w  Luis Buñuel, Jean-Claude Carrière  novel  “La Femme et le Pantin” by Pierre Louys  ph  Edmond Richard  ed  Hélène Plemiankoff  m  Richard Wagner  art  Pierre Guffroy

Fernando Rey (Mathieu), Carole Bouquet (Conchita), Angela Molina (Conchita), Julien Bertheau (Judge), André Weber (Martin, the valet), Milena Vukotic (woman on train), Maria Asquerino, Ellen Bahl, Valerie Blanco, Jacques Debary, Auguste Carrière,

Could Luis Buñuel have chosen a more fitting film to make as his swansong than this variation on Pierre Louys’ oft-used chestnut of romantic obsession?  It had first been filmed in 1928 with Conchita Montenegro shocking all with her full-frontal nudity in the dance sequence – included as an extra on the Criterion DVD of Buñuel’s film – and then Von Sternberg had made the immortal The Devil is a Woman in 1935, before a remake with Bardot in 1958.  Even while listing those goddesses one can imagine others in the role – say Louise Brooks at the height of her powers – and for his version, Buñuel had considered his favourite Catherine Deneuve before settling on Last Tango’s Maria Schneider.  However, as she had done – perhaps understandably – on Caligula, Schneider walked off set and Buñuel replaced her not with one actress but two.  (Many wished Kubrick had done the exact reverse in Eyes Wide Shut and had Nicole Kidman play all the female characters in that film.)

            When a young Spanish girl comes to work for the middle-aged Mathieu he is instantly smitten with her.  He tries a seduction over some green chartreuse only for her to leave during the night.  He then bumps into her in several places around Europe, and though she lives with him, she never gives herself to him sexually, even resorting to a chastity corset.  Finally he has enough and throws her out, just prior to her and her mother being thrown out of France as undesirable aliens.  Finally he tracks her down again to Seville, where she has a final humiliation in store for him. (more…)

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