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Subject: Crocodiles (was "re Alligators in Opera")
From: "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:G. Paul Padillo
Date:Tue, 5 Sep 2017 12:54:27 -0400
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[log in to unmask] wrote (in part):

“In Peter Sellar's' production of Giuglio Cesare all those years ago, 
Cleopatra gamely carried around a blown up plastic alligator... “  

Not to be pedantic, but I believe it's a crocodile, not an alligator.  I only 
bring this up because there are no alligators in Egypt.  

Speaking of Giulio Cesare, “The Crocodile” is one of the principal characters 
in Herbert Wernicke’s production for the Liceu in the early 2000’s.  While I 
hissed in rebellion on first hearing about this, I gave in to the director’s 
concept, reading his thoughts:

"The monster - the great mute protagonist of this production . . . occupies 
the  stage as a symbol of the eternal and immutable myth of Egypt, a 
privileged  spectator of the clash between two cultures, two diametrically 
opposed  worlds, and the relationship, of oppression and submission, they 
finally adopt." 

Well, okay, then. 

As bizarre as it sounds one of the most powerful moments in this 
production is Cleopatra's aria "Piangero;  alone, sorrowful at Cesare’s (supposed) death
(supposed) death and abused at her brother’s hand, the Crocodile slowly makes his way toward the Queen, 
makes his way toward the Queen, and, without fear, she gently strokes the monster 
monster - the symbolic becoming reality, but, more than anything else, a 
moment of striking, heart tugging beauty and theatre.  

Following Cleo and Caesar’s duet, the final tableaux finds the chorus as 
modern day tourists; disposable cameras, sandals, sun hats, loud shorts, 
guidebooks in hand, poring over the Rosetta Stone, all screaming and 
fleeing, as the Crocodile, now sans costume (but not naked) spins speedily 
and dangerously around the stage chasing them all away.  My description 
may sound terrible, but it was a touching, smile inducing, moment which 
had the audience roaring their approval during the final strains.  

p.

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