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Subject:

Re: Are opera movies forgotten?

From:

"Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Max D. Winter

Date:

Mon, 4 Sep 2017 12:35:19 -0400

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I tend to agree that most movies made of operas are unsatisfying, mainly because I am
always conscious of the fact that the singers are lip-synching rather than actually singing.
Apart from Bergman's "The Magic Flute," which is brilliant, and maybe the old "Tales of
Hoffman" film, I just don't think the two mediums - opera and film - mesh well. Particularly
annoying are the ones where actors are lip-synching to the voices of opera singers.

To me, the value of a lot of the older opera films, particularly those out of Italy, is the
chance to see some great singers in action - albeit lip-synching their own voices.

One of my favorite opera-related movies is the 1915 de Mille "Carmen" with Geraldine
Farrar. Farrar is really good and it gives you an idea of why she was such a big Met star, a
big stage personality, in spite of a not-quite-great (but perfectly serviceable) voice. Farrar
also starred in the movie with my favorite title of all time: "The Woman that God Forgot."

There is an excellent restoration of Farrar's "Carmen" here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDE0tyZso1g

There also are some views of Caruso as Canio in "Pagliacci" from the film he made, "My
American Cousin," along with some shots of the Old Met:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HP-szNLGiok

Another personal favorite - Lily Pons singing the "Bell Song" from the movie, "I Dream Too
Much." The production is the Met's at that time (the sets are based on it, anyway), and I
think it gives a good idea of how Pons came across on stage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZjwRN6v9bE

MDW

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