Il Tabarro and Pagliacci at the Met

The Metropolitan Opera opened the 1994/5 season with a starrily cast double bill of Puccini’s Il Tabarro and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci.  Both were conducted by James Levine and filmed by Brian Large.


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Artificial and cruel Così

In 1988 Jean-Pierre Ponnelle made the last of his lip synched opera films; Mozart’s Così fan tutte.  It carries Ponnelle’s trademark “artificialityeven further than in other of his films that I have seen.  The sets, the costumes, the acting and the camera work never let us forget that this is a work of the, in the director’s words, “greatest artificiality”.  It also becomes increasingly clear as the piece progresses that Ponnelle has a very clear idea of what “the opera is about”.  Continue reading

Barbarella, Prinzessin von Judea

Götz Friedrich’s 1974 film of Strauss’ Salome is a bit of an oddity. It’s a studio film rather than a video recording of a live performance. This allows the casting of singers who might not be able to manage the role in the opera house. In this case, crucially, the light lyric soprano Teresa Stratas sings the title role which she most certainly never did on stage. Continue reading