igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
I posted the Micaela-fic on fanfiction.net under the "Carmen" category -- but since that is a completely dead 'fandom' (or to be more precise one that was never alive), the only people who can have seen it are those who are 'following' me on FFnet and thus receive an email alert every time I post a new story.

Of those sixteen, most of them are 'Phantom' fans and a couple added me after I posted Harry Potter stories (and at least one doesn't seem to be active on the site any more, while I think another only followed me in a spirit of encouragement). And from those sixteen possibles, I've received seven 'visits', ten 'page views', one review and one 'favourite' (not from the same person) in the course of 24 hours. This gives an indication of how many people are prepared at least to look at anything I write, even when it's not in their primary fandom :-)

It might help that this is a fairly well-known general story as opposed to a specific small fandom...
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
I've just been listening to the LP of the 'recreated' Carmen recording of 1970, which used the original dialogue and restored the sections cut after the first production in 1875 -- while attempting to follow it using the only libretto I own, from the boxed set recorded by Maria Callas which contains the standard grand-opera version with recitative! My French is good enough to enable me to follow the majority of the additional spoken dialogue without the transcript, but as soon as the extra sung sections kick in I can barely catch a word of that: without the record-sleeve summary I wouldn't have had the faintest idea what was going on there :-(

The only significant cut, plot-wise, seems to have been to the knife-fight between José and Escamillo: originally Escamillo beats José easily (which I think, if I understood the snatches of lyric correctly, is attributed to the professional skills of the former as a toreador -- which would make sense) and José, infuriated by his rival's refusal to take the fight seriously, demands a second round which he wins by a fluke when Escamillo slips. In the later version they are evenly matched until Escamillo's accident, which does change the dynamic between the two somewhat.

However, replacing the dialogue by snippets of recitative in order to turn Carmen into a proper 'grand opera' was definitely not to the advantage of the piece, alas. Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
Finally managed to finish my Carmen fanfic, after getting seriously stuck on the last page: I'd come up with a whole theory as to what becomes of Micaela, and it just wouldn't 'go'. The whole thing was seriously unbalancing the end of the story by involving a lot of extra exposition (all of which was supposedly being fitted in during the time it took the priest to come round the corner and walk towards her!), was distracting from the climax of the original canon and was in danger of making Micaela sound self-pitying and pathetic.

In the end I decided to ditch the whole thing and abandon the question of what happens to Micaela as the last character left standing, and immediately felt much happier about the entire ending, which confirmed my instinct that it simply hadn't been working before. (I'd spent hours and hours working over it very laboriously and got practically nowhere.)

Ironically enough, as soon as I crossed out my last few hard-won sentences and sat down to write the 'original' ending, the first two lines I came up with turned out to lead most invitingly into precisely the material I'd just resolved to ditch because I couldn't find a concise way of working it in... so I ended up using pretty much everything I'd planned after all! Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
I spent some time looking for a "Carmen" libretto that gives the original, non-recitative dialogue just in case it gives any more detail about Micaela and her precise relationship with José's mother; it doesn't really, although at least it doesn't contradict as such anything that I've written. The spoken dialogue is just a little more explicit about the content of the letter and the mother's desire that they should marry because the girl is "gentille" and "sage", although one interesting element is Carmen's initial claim to be from José's province -- a nod back to Merimée's novel, where she contrives her escape by speaking to him in Basque and appealing to his fellow-feeling rather than (at this point in the plot) by seducing him.

I'm not entirely happy about this domestic scenario of mine, since ironically enough it's based off a couple of elements in Robin Norton-Hale's revised version that don't actually exist in the original libretto; however, at least it doesn't turn out to be actively incompatible with canon.

This is turning out to be more of a 'what happened behind the scenes' tale than I'd anticipated, as I became more interested in Micaela as a character in her own right rather than just as narrator. The result is that I now need to decide what is going to happen to her at the end of the story -- it really is completely open, as I hadn't planned to go into the question of her future...
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

Almost finished my Carmen-one-shot, I think; probably only another side or so, once I work out how to lead up to my twist ending. (Assuming the readers haven't already worked it out, as it's based on canon: indeed, my original idea for the fic was almost scuppered by the fact that I'd forgotten this important point!)

*remembers belatedly that there aren't going to be any 'canon' readers for this* :-(

Unfortunately Micaela's narrative voice has shifted to become quite a bit more formal in the course of the days since I started writing it, so I'll have to work out what I can do about consistency -- probably compromising somewhere in the middle... And I need to check out some of the religious references. Why do all my narrators have to be observant European Catholics? ;-p

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

Went to see revisionist OperaUpClose "Carmen" again -- it still irritates me :-(

My companion's response -- "But this is the first time I've seen a production that gives Carmen a reason to leave him; otherwise she comes across as heartless" -- just validates my point: Carmen *is* heartless. The whole point of the plot is that she is a free spirit, she does what she likes. Bashing José (via some major changes in the lyrics) to make Carmen into a battered girlfriend who gets slapped around on a regular basis runs clean counter to the music, to the author's intent, and to the characters' integrity. And as a result it comes across as pushing a political point at the expense of the opera.

Read more... )

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