Karajan’s Otello

So, another lip synched film from the 1970s. This time it’s Verdi’s Otello starring Jon Vickers and Mirella Freni.  What makes this one a bit different is that Herbert von Karajan not only conducts but directs as well.  It’s a curious piece with fantastic music making but no real production concept, continuity errors, some very dodgy acting and puzzling cinematography in places.  It’s never dull though.  Continue reading

Der Rosenkavalier

Back in 1961 Paul Czinner decided to experiment with filming a live opera performance. He chose the 1961 Salzburg Festival production of Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier. I guess it got a theatrical release in the day then more or less disappeared, popping up up from time to time in a rather poor quality ‘Pan and Scan’ VHS version. Now it’s been digitally restored from a 35mm print and released on DVD and Blu-Ray by Kultur. It’s spectacular. It looks like early 1960s 35mm colour and it sounds like early 1960s analogue stereo. Very impressive. Like watching Il Gattopardo while listening to a recording by John Culshaw or Walter Legge.

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