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From what opera is the piece that Tim Robbins plays in The Shawshank Redemption?
7 replies to this topic
Posted January 25 2007 - 01:17 AM
I know absoletely “Jack” about opera, but I liked that. I’d like to rent a few "Lite Opera's" from Netflix. Any suggestions for beginners?
Posted January 25 2007 - 01:44 AM
Ahh...of course, Mozart! Thx!
Posted January 25 2007 - 03:50 AM
I'm a pretty big opera fan, and I love Mozart's Figaro, but I do not know if I would recommend it as a starting point if you are new to opera. It is quite long, and in Mozart's operas, the characters tend to repeat their arias. So, you hear the aria, and the audience laughs at any jokes, and then, they tend to sing them over again with the same jokes. I actually have no problem with the arias, but it may be jarring at first. If you do rent it, I recommend the version from Netflix with Renee Fleming as the countess. The countess' aria Dove sono is one of the great arias in opera. Another interesting Mozart rental would be Bergman's film of The Magic Flute. It is way shorter than the actual opera because there are some cuts (but mostly they cut those aria repeats I alluded to earlier.). I always recommend that opera newcomers start with Puccini. In fact, I think Puccini's Turandot makes a perfect starting point. You have an unknown prince, and a cruel Chinese princess who can only be won by a man who can answer three riddles (failure to answer all three results in the beheading of the contestant!). The Metropolitan Opera version directed by Franco Zefferelli, with Placido Domingo in his prime and Eva Marton is the best on DVD, IMO. The music and staging are spectacular, and the disc has both DD and DTS. Pucinni's La Boheme is actually my favorite opera, but I cannot say I've ever seen a DVD version if La Boheme as good as the Turandot referenced above. They are either poorly directed, or feature a poor voice or two. The Zefferelli one from the early 80's is beautifully staged, with Jose Carreras in his prime, but I am not crazy about Teresa Stratas' voice (though she acts superbly), and Renata Scotto was waaaay past her prime as Musetta. There is a more recent La Scala version in which Zefferelli basically repeats his earlier production. It is marrred by too many close-ups so that you miss seeing who is singing sometimes. I wish DVDs on opera would be content to pull back the camera a bit so you could see everything at once as you would in an opera house. One more sure-fire bet: Bizet's Carmen. There are lots of good versions. Just be sure to rent one that is live onstage as opposed to the movie version. Operas are theatrical events that work better as live stagings than as films. Even the Bergman Magic Flute is filmed (more or less) in a staged setting.
Posted January 25 2007 - 05:43 AM
David, thanks for taking the time to school a beginner. This is exactly the type of feedback I was looking for. Per your suggestions, I’ve added these to my Netflix queue. The Magic Flute: Ingmar Bergman puts his indelible stamp on Mozart's opera in this rendering of one of the composer's best-loved works. In an unusual structure, the film moves between a stage production of the opera and the backstage intrigues of the actors. This other-worldly fantasy, sung in Swedish, involves a kidnapped princess (Irma Urrila), a mysterious and powerful Queen of the Night (Birgit Nordin) and a carefree, flute-playing wanderer. (1975) Le Nozze Di Figaro: Presented in celebration of the reopening of the refurbished Glyndebourne Festival Opera in May of 1994, this stunning production of Mozart's opera features Gerald Finley as Figaro, Alison Hagley as Susanna, Andreas Schmidt as Count Almaviva, Renee Fleming as Countess Almaviva and Marie-Ange Todorovitch as Cherubino. Bernard Haitink conducts the London Philharmonic in this sparkling classic directed by Stephen Medcalf. (1994) Turandot: Well…they don’t have the version of Turandot you recommended, this one got the highest rating. Turandot is Pucinni's opera performed live and conducted by Zubin Mehta and performed by Giovanna Casolia, Sergej Larlin and Barbara Frittoil. (1998) La Boheme: is one of Giacomo Puccini's most popular and timeless works and the second-most performed opera at New York's Metropolitan Opera. This production, directed by the legendary Franco Zeffirelli, features Jose Carreras, Teresa Stratas, Renata Scotto and Richard Stilwell. The opera is replete with extraordinary visual beauty as it presents the tragic story of young bohemians struggling to make it in the world. (1982) Bizet's Carmen: In 19th century Seville, Spain, a tempestuous gypsy named Carmen (Julia Migenes-Johnson) seduces an army corporal named Don José (Placido Domingo). The corporal gives up his military career, his fiancée and even his ailing mother to win the heart of the beautiful gypsy -- but she shuns his advances in favor of a bullfighter (Ruggero Raimondi). Domingo is in fine form in this film version of the opera classic shot on location in Spain. (1984) Can anyone recommend a dedicated opera forum?
Posted January 25 2007 - 06:16 AM
As a slight aside, the only version of Turandot available on CD at the moment is the old Vox version - for some reason all the rest have been deleted. If you want to understand what they're singing about then I'd recommend Chandos' Opera in English series - their RRP in the UK is £20 which is about US$40 at the moment although I'm sure you can find it cheaper. They do an edition of The Magic Flute. Claudio Abbado's recent version of Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) on Deutsche Grammophon has been getting rave reviews and was the opera release of the year for many critics - when searching for operas online be aware that the various record labels differ in whether they use the original German title or a translated English one, although a lot of places like Amazon will list the other title for it in brackets to help you out. Unfortunately DG is a 'premium' classical label and their pricing follows the classical price multiplier of 1CD = £16, so potentially their multi-disc sets can end up costing £32 for 2CDs, £48 for 3 etc etc. Aside from the Chandos releases (which are in English and may not be to everyone's tastes) I'd recommend the EMI series of discs which come in small white card boxes - they are reasonably priced and are by all accounts pretty good recordings. If you are feeling more adventurous and want to try some pre-Mozart Early Music then Harmonia Mundi's recent Renee Jacobs DVDs and CDs are worth a look. His version of Cavalli's La Calisto is stunning (and available as either a CD set or DVD), while his interpretation of Monteverdi's Orfeo, which is more of a modern dance performance, is an interesting take on one of Monteverdi's most famous pieces. The DVD is available now with a CD coming later in the year.
Posted January 25 2007 - 06:44 AM
John, I have also seen that version of Turandot. I think it is the one filmed in the Forbidden City. Also, if I recall, it has a cool feature-you get to use your DVD player's "alternate angle" feature. Remember my complaint about how opera videos often do not show the big picture, but instead, concentrate on close-ups? Well, in that version, they often allow you to pick your own angle if you wish. So, in a scene like the spectacular entrance for the Riddle Scene, you can opt for a shot of the full stage and the cast of thousands. Also, I remember Barbara Fritolli being quite good as Liu, so that version is a good one. I do not belong to any opera boards. Classical music boards often get contentious, more so even that film boards. You will have people who think a given singer or conducter is the greatest, and another group will have the opposite view. There are probably some good ones out there, though.
Posted January 25 2007 - 12:47 PM
"John, I have also seen that version of Turandot." You are correct sir, I mistakenly did not transfer the full title of the DVD to my post. This has been corrected. Excellent point regarding opera boards. Sadly, it makes perfect sense. Well...I'm off to a good start I believe, thanks again for your advice.
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