My conflict with Lucie remained unresolved until a trip to New York last weekend, when we went to see her sister perform in the chorus of Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera. Towards the end of the short and violent fourth act, I experienced a pop culture epiphany: Jolie, with her tattoos, funeral obsession and multiple bad-boy lovers, is a modern-day Gypsy temptress; a Carmen for those who study the weekly libretto of People magazine.
That, of course, makes Pitt a 21st-century Don José: the hapless, libidinous foil, tempted away from his wholesome fiancée (Michaela) to a life of thwarted passion and banditry. OK, so maybe not banditry. But no one can seriously question the casting of Aniston as Michaela — the guileless peasant girl whose hand in marriage is approved by José’s nagging provincial mother.
At the Met, just as at Kitson 3,000 miles away, the castanet-bearing temptress beats the sensible marriage prospect every time. But here’s the catch, and the reason for my team loyalty: no one leaves Carmen thinking that the endlessly whining Don José is anything but an idiot.
“He was so pathetic,” spat Lucie, as we shuffled slowly out of the packed auditorium. With a shiver of disgust, she added: “And it just goes to show that you should always listen to your mother, and always stick with the nice girl next door.”
Then came a horrified gasp. Lucie slapped her hand over her mouth as she realised what she had just said. My wife had been Team Aniston all along.
Well, my sister didn’t play Carmen, but my mother’s best friend did, and I’m Team Carmen, all the way. That does not, of course, make me Team José. Not at all. It does, however, put me firmly opposite Team Michaela. And I was Team Angelina to begin with (before, in other words, the Carmen comparisons and any knowledge of the existence of “teams”), so there you go.