'THE GEORGE BURNS AND GRACIE ALLEN SHOW'
"GEORGE AND GRACIE GO TO THE OPERA"
George and Gracie went to see a production of "Carmen" with several of their friends. The local opera reviewer, Mrs. Quigley, dropped off the tickets and tried to explain the plot to Gracie......
MRS. QUIGLEY:"Carmen" is the name of the opera.
Oh really. I thought it was the name of the girl that Mr. Vanderlip was taking. Can you believe I would make a mistake like that?
Frankly yes. Perhaps this might help you a little bit. Carmen, you see, is a gypsy girl who works in the cigarette factory.
Oh please. Let's not gossip about her anymore. Let's talk about the one in the opera.
But this is the story of the opera! This Carmen is a gypsy girl who loves Don Jose.
Well why shouldn't she? It's a beautiful town. Everybody loves San Jose!
It's Don Jose. They're sweethearts for a while then Carmen's love for him grows cold
Well if you think it grows cold in San Jose you ought to live in Pismo beach!
Mrs. Burns, Don Jose is Carmen's lover. But she leaves him for Escomilio.
I hope she gets a round-trip ticket. That sounds colder than Pismo!
["Carmen"] was written [by Georges Bizet] in the genre of opéra comique with musical numbers separated by dialogue. It tells the story of the downfall of Don José, a naïve soldier who is seduced by the wiles of the fiery Gypsy, Carmen. José abandons his childhood sweetheart and deserts from his military duties, yet loses Carmen's love to the glamorous toreador Escamillo, after which José kills her in a jealous rage. The depictions of proletarian life, immorality and lawlessness, and the tragic death of the main character on stage, broke new ground in French opera and were highly controversial.
The star of that production was Risë Stevens who often played the role at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. (But I think Ms. Stevens journeyed to Los Angeles to perform there this time.) Although she didn't appear in the episode, only mentioned, this would still count towards Ms. Stevens presence in Toobworld as a member of the League of Themselves.
Above all, [Risë Stevens] was especially celebrated for her Carmen. She had an enormous personal triumph at the Metropolitan in the role in the famousTyrone Guthrie production in 1951, becoming the Carmen of her generation. Her RCA Victor recording of the opera, conducted by Fritz Reinerand co-starring Jan Peerce, Robert Merrill and Licia Albanese, became a best seller and has never been out of print in some format.
To give you an idea of the performance that George and Gracie saw, here are three selections from "Carmen" starring Risë Stevens:
This last selection is probably one of the most famous pieces of music from the world of opera......