PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Without Giving Away The Ending

Escamellio and Carmen prepare for his big day in the ring, but Carmen decides to wait outside, because she’s a member of PeTA. 

 And look at those pants.  See! I told ya. Pants don’t get much fancier than that!

While Carmen’s waiting for the big show to be over, Jose shows up, totaly ignoring the restraining order.

The two have a frank and serious discussion about their relationship. Things are looking pretty positive until someone says the wrong thing ….

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Carmen has dumped Jose and taken up with Mister Big Shot Fancy Pants (seriously, you ought to see those pants) Escamellio the Matador.  It’s the day of the big rodeo and Carmen and her sidekicks are dressed to the nines.

Frasquita is concerned while Melanie tries to convince Christina to appear on Radio Free Charleston.

CRAP! They See Me!

It’s In The Cards

Jose throws in with the smugglers!  This could ruin his political future, like if he skipped out on his National Guard commitment or something.   Wait a minute.  Never mind.  Anyway, Jose is now an outlaw.

Frasquita, Mercedes and Carmen consult the cards to see what the future holds.

Hey, Mercedes gets some pretty good news!

Maybe all those bad vibes I was getting was just me being pessimistic. 

Let’s see what the rest of the cards say…..

Hmm.  Frasquita seems pretty happy. 

The girls are in line for money and true love.  Maybe this opera will have a happy ending after all.  Maybe it’ll be all rainbows and cake and everyone will hold hands and sing.


Oh.  Bummer. 

Sorry, Carmen.

Well, two out of three…..

…at least the cards didn’t say anything about getting parking tickets.

More to come.

The Zuniga Shuffle

Charleston Native John Shuffle tosses his weight around Pastia’s place as Zuniga, the scheming Captain of The Guard. 

Later, Carmen and Jose share a tender, moment of foreshadowing. 

There’s some nasty obsessing going on here. 

If I could stand Dr. Phil, I’d suggest we enlist his aid.  This just isn’t healthy.

The Quintet.  Five voices soaring with lock-step precision.  They nailed it.  Left to right: Frasquita (Eva Vadavska Kumar), El Remendado (Mark Hornbaker), El Dancaiero (Stephen Stull), Mercedes (Melanie Larch) and Carmen (Christina Nassif). 

Near the end of the quintet, El Remandado is kneeling, and saying something in French. I think they’re up to something.


What’sa Matador You?

With a mighty swagger, the rock-star matador Escamellio (Jimi James), strides into the room.  Wives leave husbands.  Girlfriends leave boyfriends.  The divorce rate goes up. Mr. Stud-muffin bull-killer can have any woman he wants.  And he wants Carmen.

Meanwhile, below….HEY! Channel 13’s Martin Staunton is on stage chatting up my woman!  What the hell? 

Photo-blogging of the Carmen Dress rehearsals continues, with this scene from Act Two, which shows Carmen partying hearty at Pastia’s Saloon after causing Jose the Soldier to go to jail for her.   You know this is not going to end well.

Below you see Carmen dancing up a storm with her sidekicks Frasquita (Eva Vidavska Kumar) and Mercedes (RFC’s Resident Diva, Melanie Larch).

The Plot Thickens

In act one of Carmen, we meet Miceala, the lovely young lady who is searching for her soldier man, Jose.  Jose, however, is smitten with Carmen, a stunning gypsy with a free spirit and a raunchy nature.  After Carmen gets into a fight at the cigarette factory where she works, Jose is ordered to arrest her. 

To the right you see Drew Slatton as Jose.  Poor sucker!  Carmen convinces him to let her escape, and he pays the price.  I think he even lost his retirement account. 

Below you see Carmen plotting her seduction.

Last night I was privileged to be allowed into the first dress rehearsal for the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s production of Georges Bizet’s classic opera, “Carmen.”  All day today I’ll be posting photos that I took right here in PopCult.  Above we see Mariel Van Dalsum-Boggs as Miceala, early in the first act.  Below we see the first appearance of Christina Nassif as Carmen.


Check back for more photos from Carmen all day long. 

To learn more about Christina Nassif, visit www.cristinanassif.com. and read the article by Bob Schwarz in The Gazz.

 If you go

The West Virginia Symphony stages the opera “Carmen” at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 19 at the Clay Center. Adults $12-$68, students $8-$23. Call 561-3570

or visit www.theclaycenter.org.