NHB, your wish is my command, which just goes to show you: it is sometimes best to stick with standard wishes like a pony or a filibuster-proof Democratic majority. So, for no real reason except I think they're great and you'll like them, here are two sliiiightly thematically linked clips from the films of Almodovar, the first from Tacones Lejanos (High Heels), with apologies for lack of subtitles, and the second from Volver with--I shit you not, as usual--subtitles in what I assume to be Turkish.
In this one, the magnetic Marisa Paredes syncs to Luz Casal's cover of "Piensa en mi," a wonderful little melodrama by Mexican songwriter Agustin Lara. Sample lyrics: "Piensa en mi quando sufras. Quando llores, tambien piensa en mi" = "Think of me when you're suffering. When you're crying, think of me then, too." Not for nothing is this sung by a character beloved of drag queens. (You'll even find one visual cover of the scene on youtube performed by a real live drag queen.) There's a neat trick Luz Casal does near the end, singing through the phrase "quitarme la vida" with a sobbing vibrato that permeates even the consonants. Curiously, to me anyway, the guitar accompaniment is exactly, but exactly, identical to the cover of the same song by hard-to-take songstress Chavela Vargas, which I think is also on youtube at least in audio. (I was introduced to the beyond-Dylan, beyond-even-Vysotsky gargling of Madame Vargas at this weird house party in Austin where I was also introduced to Laphroaig, perhaps Chavela's sour mash equivalent.) Ok, so my summer entries are all about lamentably autobiographical digression, yes. Cue the next musical example.
Ok, best lip-synching in the history of lips, no? You may or may not recognize the woman doing the crying in this one as Carmen Maura, tough but glamorous twenty years earlier in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Almodovar on the verge of leaving camp and epater-ing-el-bourgeousie behind in order to make a number of increasingly sincere masterpieces.) Maura looks to me to have made the bold move of aging naturally, but in her first scenes in the movie, she's consented to be made absolutely haggard, with tremendous aesthetic pay-off. Cruz talks in the commentary track about wearing, well, a prosthetic ass, and she and Almodovar have a little love-fest about how it inspired her to carry herself like a mother instead of one of today's great screen beauties. The lyrics here are softer camp, and, uh, the subtitles, as promised, appear to be in Turkish. It was the longest version of the clip and I wanted to be sure of having the last seconds of it.
It occurs to me that what makes the second clip more convincing, though the first is more of a tour-de-force, is that Luz Casal is audibly younger than Marisa Paredes, though perhaps her character is meant to be lip-synching to her own beloved recording of the song from younger years. It makes me have vague thoughts about singing voice in relation to speaking voice--and recall an interview in which Upshaw said her coach or perhaps her doctor told her to try and habitually raise her speaking voice to be more in line with the range of her singing--because I'm still not convinced--anyway, Almodovar back then was at least half about artifice.
Really I just posted these because I played both of them for regular commentatrix Grrg, and didn't even think at the time about the fact that they're both so much about singing and memory and loss, even if they show Almodovar reacting to these things first at the tail end of his enfant-terrible phase, then as...I don't know how to categorize what he's become, other than one of the very best. For more on singing and crying, please visit the Opera-L archives, as I recall there was one of those immortal (in the sense of neverending, not in the sense of great or timeless) threads about what music makes you cry! Seriously, it was one of those things where by the end every recording in history has been referenced. Somewhere out there, there's someone who gets misty over Marilyn Horne singing "Groin pull."
All for now. A month, more or less, 'til I can go back to opera blogging. Oh but meanwhile, did you notice Santa Fe made public their intentions for next seez? Highlights include a Brewer/Groves Alceste and Dessay in Traviata. One feels certain she will make interesting and unusual dramatic choices in the role, no?