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Thread: The Opera Movie kick

  1. #1
    Junior Member carrTL1274's Avatar
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    Default The Opera Movie kick

    I'm sure many of you have seen or heard of the Met operas recent dive into the popular media world with it's broadcasts into movie theaters across the country. Being an avid opera fan and performer I am 100% in support of this idea and think it's the best thing to happen to opera since Bayreuth (ha ha).

    I would like to propose the Opera world go a step farther. Why not jump into the recent bandwagon of musicals hitting the silver screen and make some opera/movie hybrids. I know to many people that love opera this idea sounds awful and I agree in for many reasons, hollywood is very capable of totally ruining great operas in the attempt at turning them into a popular media, but what if they were done well? Sung by good singers, with good orchestras and directors and on top of that the movie itself could be done by a brilliant film director.

    I did a performance of Gian- Carlo Menotti's The Consul last year and this was the divining spark of this idea. That opera itself was done in the 1960's on television with Patricia Neway in the lead role, but it didn't turn out to be as good as it could have been. Also I Pagliacci and Cavalleria Rusticana were done as a sort of movie with Zeffereli as the director and those turned out well. I think with the wonderful technology and some of the brilliant directors there are in the world now this venture could really turn out well.

    So what do you all think? give me the good and the bad with the idea. (now i just wish i could get it sent out to hollywood to think over ha ha!)

  2. #2
    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    I don't mind opera movies as such, but as someone who buys opera dvd's on a pretty regular basis I have to say that I most of the time prefer to watch live performances because they are more exciting. Movies are ok too, but I don't know if most operas are suited for that medium since you usually have 30 minutes or more at the same location. In for example Joseph Losey's Don Giovanni movie with Raimondi and Kiri they try to make it look less static by having the characters walking on the street or from one room to the other all the time. I as an opera fan enjoy it, but I think that potential fans are more likely to be persuaded by one of those great Met live broadcasts you've mentionned. The best opera movie I've seen (in my modest opinion) is Gotz Friedrich's Elektra.

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    Senior Member Ciel_Rouge's Avatar
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    Well, there ARE already some films centered around the opera, like Maitre de Musique, Farinelli or a musical sort of thing like... The Pantom of the Opera... As for other ideas for bringing operas to movie theaters - I am totally for broadcasting the performances. Still, one can always buy a DVD and watch it at home. And most of all - attending a good performance in person is how it was meant to be from the start and this way may prove to be most satisfying.

    However, when I hear "technology", "popular" or "modern directors" the first thing that comes to my mind is cars on fire flying in the air, weak plots and cliche dialogues. I would be cautious - we do not have to try to make everybody happy by trying to storm the "popular" junk culture. Making "popular" means dumbing it down and we do not want this to happen to the opera.

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    Junior Member carrTL1274's Avatar
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    That's just my point though. I think a synthesis of opera and film is possible while not dumbing it down and taking the beauty out of it. I think there are some operas that could really do this. I know too that live performaces are the best medium for opera god knows that I want people to come to the shows I'm in, but i'm interested in something that would combine my two favorite things in the world opera and movies and on top of that I think it's a way to bring opera to people who would never have a chance to see it in the first place. I live in the middle of Iowa, the only compoanies in the state are in Cedar Rapids ( a small C size company that does two shows a year) and Des Moines Metropolitan Oprea ( a large C sized company that does 3 or 4 shows a year.) the biggest problem is neither of them have much draw because they are too small. DMMO is a great company that puts on some wonderful productions but only has 480 seats in its theater, really can't bring a lot of people there.

    I geuss one that would also be good, would be advertising for the Met broadcasts... I'ver never seen a commercial for them outside of a couple magazines and public radio. That stuff needs to be announced on big tv stations and annouce it to bigger crowds.
    Last edited by carrTL1274; Dec-30-2008 at 00:31.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ciel_Rouge's Avatar
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    OK, I like this for example:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6LyYdSQQAQ

    And I do believe that bringing the classical to the movies DOES arouse interest in broader audience. Still, I do not think it would appeal to "crowds". Crowds like simple things like bubble gum and cars on fire flying in the air with poor dialogues in between and no deeper dilemmas without any trace of deeper thought. People who have inclinations towards the opera, will find their way to it eventually.

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    Senior Member phoenixshade's Avatar
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    OK, I like this for example:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6LyYdSQQAQ
    Christ, I'm gonna have nightmares!

    I'm pretty sure that if the medium was available in Wagner's day, we'd have the Ring available as feature films. The lengths that he went to bring Beyreuth into existence; the painstaking efforts to create the underwater illusion for the Rheinmaidens and the construction of Fafner as a dragon; his well-known stance that in opera, Drama is paramount; all point towards a natural inclination for movies.

    With the fantastical scenes and characters that these operas demand, I can think of none other better suited for film. If Tolkein's Ring is any indicator, Wagner's could likewise be a blockbusting success.

  7. #7
    Junior Member carrTL1274's Avatar
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    Well Ciel your clip is umm... well very interesting (lol!) That's kind of what i mean but definitely less creepy and odd and more normal pieces of music, Schoenberg didn't appeal to a lot of people even when he was popular.
    I have to disagree with you about what most people like to see in movies. Yes there are alot of very popular and poorly written movies out there and there are a lot of movies with reckless and unnecessary death and destruction. But there are a lot of movies that may have things like that in them but are written extremely well and there are many people that I know that enjoy the deeper side of things.
    I go to school in a private college in Iowa, granted it is a college so many people there have a desire for more intelligent entertainment, but I know many people my age that once they been introduced to an opera are very enamored of it. Many times they say "well if it was just more accesible" or things like that then they would see them. I just would really like the opera world and the classical genre appeal to people again. It's obvious that we have fewer performance venues then we used to and I would like to see them coming back.

    I like your point pheonix, the Ring cycle maybe would be popular, but they are very, very long ( not that lord of the rings weren't) and they are fairly stagnant. Many times throughout the show you have to be paying more attention to the music than the singers to understand what is happening. I don't know how well they would carry over into film but who knows. I guess the only real reason i'm contending it is because I'm a little biased against Wagner, I've never really been a fan of his stuff, but you've got a point about the fantasy craze

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    It is even broadcast in cinemas in Perth Australia.

    Now you know.

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    Assistant Administrator Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    I enthusiastically agree in principle to the efforts of the MET Opera to make their broadcasts available in theatre settings. I say "in principle" because I have not yet been to a theatre to see one. I have, however, seen a couple of those films after-the-fact on public television (Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" and Verdi's "Macbeth" [the latter not being one of the grand Italian master's more inspired essays]).

    It's too bad that none of the MET's Ring cycle performances will make their way into the theatres this year. I suppose that if we can't be there in New York (I will be... for ONE of them, anyway), we'll have to content ourselves with the radio broadcasts. It's a case of gathering one's rosebuds where one may, I suppose.
    The hardest knife ill us'd doth lose his edge. Shakespeare- Sonnet 95

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    Senior Member Ciel_Rouge's Avatar
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    carrTL1274: I am not that familiar with Schoenberg stuff either, I just like this particular video. I also understand there ARE people who watch deeper films and I also know some people like that. What I meant was that for some odd reason film makers assume that almost EVERY action movie has to have cars on fire flying in the air and for me this is just... funny. Maybe they have some kind of a deal with the car recycling companies or something... I don't know. But that's another story.

    As for the "opera blockbusters" I would love to see that, I also suppose that particularly works by Wagner would also provide some opportunities for special effects etc. However, that would still be a derivative of some kind and not a real opera.

    I am not a big fan of making the classical more "accessible". You either like something or not - and if the performance is good, there is a lot of potential. I would not like to see the "opera blockbusters" as a replacement for real opera with living, breathing opera singers in front of me. However, I totally agree with you that they could show a possible direction to people who would find their own way into the opera world (either listening or performing). All in all - good luck with your opera block busters, as long as they are not a replacement for real opera I am totally in favour of this idea.
    Last edited by Ciel_Rouge; Jan-01-2009 at 02:43.

  11. #11
    Junior Member carrTL1274's Avatar
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    Ha well i'm glad we could agree Ciel. I don't want to replace opera, I plan to make my living on performing it so without it I'm out of a job. But hey the more people that could be interested in opera the better. I like your term Opera Blockbusters I think that's a good way to put it.

    As for flying cars, maybe they have a bet on how many they can blow up in a week or something ha ha!

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    This is off-topic, I know, but that Schoenberg video is absolutely amazing. (I love that cycle anyway.) They didn't exploit the obvious imagery from the text (the butterflies), but the imagery is absolutely perfect. Wow. Thanks for the reference.

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