Friday, October 17, 2014

Will Viewing Carmen Start Me Smoking?

   I planned on watching The Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Carmen, being broadcast at movie houses next month, but now I’m worried. Will watching it make me start smoking?
   The Western Australia Opera Company believes so. It has banned performances of Carmen because the opera is set in and around a cigarette factory in Seville, Spain. The characters in the opera smoke cigarettes.
   The head of the opera company said she is concerned about the health and well-being of the performers, stage hands and others. However, she also said the performers would not have been smoking real cigarettes.
Opera: Tempting Our Morals?
   The real reason for not staging the opera is money. Fear of losing it. Carmen was banned after the opera company signed a sponsorship contract with a government health agency. The contract is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and the agency believes that depictions of smoking are not a good thing.
   Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the opera company's ban is "political correctness gone crazy."
   It is not known what opera will be staged in place of Carmen. The choices are limited if the opera company and the health agency sponsor are concerned about guarding the morals of audiences.
   Surely they will have to ban Macbeth because it promotes murder. Madam Butterfly is out because its heroine commits suicide. La Traviata and The Merry Widow shouldn’t be staged because they surely would persuade people to drink alcohol. And, what about Rigoletto in which the leacherous duke’s kidnapping of a young lady leads to murder?
   I think I'll skip Carmen at the movie theatre and see one of those Terminator movies instead.
(My Minden Times weekly column is at:

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