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Subject: Re: Are opera movies forgotten?
From: Evan Gamsu <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Evan Gamsu <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 5 Sep 2017 17:37:02 -0500
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I can't forget a lovely film of Nicolai's Merry Wives of Windsor.  I was 
a 7th grader at the Calderone in Hempstead, NY, and there was Colette 
Boky, bathing in a half wine barrel tub, bare-chested. I loved every 
other minute as well. I think there was singing....

Evan G.

P.S. and we shouldn't forget the Loren "Aida" with Bond's Miss 
Moneypenny as Amneris.


On 9/5/2017 9:49 AM, G. Paul Padillo wrote:
> As one who grew up with limited opportunity to “see” opera, opera movies
> were like manna from heaven.  Complain all one wants to about bad lip-syncing, etc., the power of the composer
> syncing, etc., the power of the composer’s score, the singing, playing – all
> of it won me over.  We enjoy opera recordings which are, even at their
> best – a limited opera experience – I can’t see adding a visual component
> to a “recording” as being a bad thing.  Not in the least.
>
> Mr. Kane mentioned:
>
> “. . . the hilarious confrontation between Isolde and Tristan while Michael
> York scans the parterre boxes in SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE.”
>
> An absolutely priceless moment in a now woefully neglected film . . . the
> first time I watched it, I had to rewind that moment about three times,
> laughing convulsively, before I could continue.   Why this hasn’t transferred to
> to a BluRay or DVD format is beyond reasoning.
>
> One of my all times favorite opera flicks is the RAI “Trovatore” with an (in
> my opinion) unimprovable cast:  Mario del Monaco, Leyla Gencer, Fedora Barbieri
> Barbieri, and Ettore Basitanini.  Despite almost cardboard cutout sets, or
> perhaps because of them, everyone's firing on all cylinders and what could
> have begun almost as Marx Brothers' comedy within minutes becomes an
> all encompassing experience, despite del Monaco (whose Manrico is almost
> ridiculously handsome) jumps the shark and goes into “over-the-top” mode.
> mode.  God, I love this one!
>
> I was glad to see Vesna give a shout out to Katerina Izmailova, a film I’d
> waited 30 years to see and which was worth every year when I finally got
> to see (and own) it.  Vishnevskaya’s performance is one of the most
> intensely demented ever captured on celluloid.  Her jump from a
> window/doorway egress to a stair landing is heart stopping – and it doesn’t
> look as though a stunt double was used.  Then there’s that final scene.
> Yahw-za!
>
> As a kid, the Frank Sinatra/Kathryn Grayson/Peter Lawson romp “It
> Happened in Brooklyn” features a couple of classical/operatic moments,
> most notably Grayson imagining her Metropolitan Opera debut as Lakme in
> a lavishly staged sequence of the “Bell Song.”  We also get Sinatra and
> Grayson singing “La Ci Darem La Mano” in a spaghetti garden, but best of
> all, Jimmy Durante in “The Song’s Gotta Come From the Heart.”
>
> Yves Montand and Shirley MacLaine give knock-out performances in “My
> Geisha” one of the gems of my childhood.  Shirley MacLaine duping her
> director husband (Montand) into believing she’s genuine Geisha for his on-location film of
> location film of “Madama Butterfly.”  The film is sometimes hilarious, but u
> ultimately heartwarming in a way movies today too rarely are (not enough e
> explosions back then).
>
> Another favorite of mine is Joachim Hess’s 1972 film of “Wozzeck” (produced by the great Rolf Liebermann) with Toni Blankenheim, Sena Jurinac, Richard Cassilly, Hans Sotin , featuring a young Franz Grundheber who would go on to become one of the best Wozzecks of our time.  It
> (produced by the great Rolf Liebermann) with Toni Blankenheim, Sena
> Jurinac, Richard Cassilly, Hans Sotin , featuring a young Franz Grundheber
> who would go on to become one of the best Wozzecks of our time.  It’s a
> haunting, beautiful and, appropriately gut-wrenching experience, filmed in
> and around an abandoned castle, it captures the timelessness of Büchner’s tr
> tragedy.
>
> Hess had earlier directed what can be seen as the extreme opposite
> of “Wozzeck”:  Zeller’s charming operetta “Der Vogelhändler” featuring a
> 20-something year old Lucia Popp.
>
> There are at least two wonderful film versions of “Madama Butterly”   The
> knock-out performance of  the 24 year old Anna Moffo – who, that same
> year (1956) made an equally charming film of “La Sonnambula.”   I’m also
> a fan of Mitterand’s 1995 movie with the stunning Ying Huang and Richard Tr
> Troxell with Richard Cowan as Sharpless.
>
> Moffo can also be seen and heard in the wonderful 1968 “Traviata” with
> Bonisolli and Bechi.  (I’m also in the minority for loving the Zeffirelli film wi
> with Stratas).
>
> Despite having some issues (like location) I do love Losey’s “Don Giovanni” with a pretty delicious cast all the way through.
>
> There is the film of
> with a pretty delicious cast all the way through.
>
> There is the film of “Romeo et Juliette” – horribly cut, featuring Alagna and
> then wife, Angela Gheorghiu – it was one of the first opera movies I came
> to hate.  Strong word, but there it is (and I’m a big fan of his).
>
> I still haven’t seen the 1989 film of Boris Godunov.  I was, however,
> present at the “one night only” concert performance of the opera which
> took place the night before the soundtrack’s recording sessions began.  So
> Sold out minutes after its announcement, it was an electrifying night, Ro
> Rostropovich leading the massive forces required, and a cast of Ruggero Ra
> Raimondi, Kenneith Riegel, Galina Vishnevskaya, Wyatscheslaw Polozov, Pa
> Paul Plishka, Nicolai Gedda, and Richard Cowan (for starters).  There were al
> also many Bulgarian and Russian singers  unknown to me, in many of the sm
> smaller roles.
>
> Near the very top of the heap is the (so far unmentioned) 1979 dazzler of
> Ponnelle’s “La Cenerentola” with von Stade at her absolute zenith and
> looking like a million bucks.  It’s just about the perfect opera film.
>
> There was the Harnoncourt produced “Monteverdi Ring” – all highly stylized an
> and gorgeous to look at.
>
>   “The Pirates of Penzance (w/Rondstadt, Kline, Lansbury et al); the various
> takes on Carmen (including Peter Brooke’s adaptation);
>
> There were two 80’s films of “The Beggars Opera” both featuring Roger
> Daltry.  Jonathan Miller’s starring Roger Daltry as MacHeath (along with
> Patricia Routledge); and “Mack the Knife” with Raul Julia in the title role, an
> and starring Richard Harris, Julia Migenes, Julie Walters with Daltry as the St
> Street Singer.
>
> There’s at least two films of “Bluebeard’s Castle” – both worth watching.
>
> Tippett’s “King Priam” was made into a marvelously intense television film ba
> based on the Kent Opera production with Rodney McCann in an absolutely se
> searing performance of the title role.  Sarah Walker is Andromache
>
> Now I can’t stop thinking about opera-movies.  And I’m still waiting for the ult
> ultimate film:  Der Ring des Nibelungen!
>
> p.
>
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