Monday, March 12, 2007

Glembays And Vampires Revived (But Not Kasandra)

While Severina herself is starring in Rijeka's much-publicised production of Gospodini Glembajevi (where her co-star, Galliano Pahor, was half of a duet competing in Dora this year), Croatian musicians - at least the ones Jutarnji list spoke to this week - have been assessing Dado Topić's chances for Eurovision in terms which aren't particularly favourable to Moja štikla.

Mišo Kovac is expecting a top ten or even top five finish for Topić on the grounds that 'all in all, we've got good-quality assets up our sleeve, unlike last year when we sent turbo-folk into the world', and Vladimir Kociš Zec, late of Novi fosili, is inclined to agree: 'Last year Croatia sent a folk song [narodnjak] into the world wrapped up as fake pop-etno, and this year it's playing fair.'

Returning to Gospodini Glembajevi, it's no ordinary production of the Miroslav Krleža classic, which begins to answer the question of what Severina's doing there. The play's turned into a semi-musical, Severina and Pahor swap roles for some of the action, and Baroness Castelli's death is staged in a way apparently recalling actress Ena Begović's fatal car accident. However, Severina's theatrical engagement has been controversial enough to be the subject of Mirjana Hrga's talk show Epicentar at the weekend. After coming in for severe criticism from musicologist Jagoda Martinčević, Severina acquitted herself rather more honourably than, say, Bora Dordevic (a previous recipient of the Epicentar treatment) - telephoning the studio to challenge Martinčević.

Leave it to the Swiss, meanwhile, to take the task of succeeding last year's horror-costumed Eurovision winners Lordi as literally as they could: summer hit merchant DJ Bobo will be presenting Vampires are alive, with the usual Colonia-type dance beat and also, one morosely supposes, the predictable staging. At least one of the Gazette's family is likely to pedantically point out that vampires are disqualified from being alive by virtue of having already been rendered undead, or to ask whether [insert name of teenage female contestant from Estonia, Moldova etc.] is supposed to be Buffy.

Any obvious connection between Severina and Vampires (alive or undead)? No; but that might be different if early-1990s dance star Kasandra hadn't abruptly vanished from the Croatian scene with several of her contemporaries. While Severina was still being marketed as the brunette Tajči, her then rival Kasandra was playing the sex symbol card, dressing up as things (including the vampire-themed video of I've Got A Feeling, post-Thriller but pre-Backstreet Boys), and celebrating the 1994 launch of the Croatian currency, the kuna, by posing for the centre spread of Globus draped in nothing but pine martens (kune in Croatian).

Wonder who'd do that sort of thing today?

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