MÁS DE 200 PELÍCULAS DE ÓPERA
SELECCIÓN by Sam Juliano http://wondersinthedark.wordpress.com/2009/08/05/the-25-greatest-opera-films-ever-made/
1 La Traviata (Verdi) 1983, directed by Franco Zeffirelli, this may well be the greatest opera film of them all. It’s beautifully sung by Domingo and Stratas, deftly orchestrated, and the lush settings, costumes and decor bring more to this Verdi classic than any in-house production could ever accomplish. As per this work’s essence, it’s a timeless story that leaves one shattered. “Sempre Libra” and “The Drinking Song” have never registered so magnificently. Zeffirelli was at the top of his game with this, Otelloand Cavaleria Rusticana during this period.
2 Parsifal (Wagner) 1982, directed by Hans-Jurgen Syberberg; While anyone wishing a traditional interpretation of one of the greatest opera ever written (the first act overture may well the most beautiful piece of music to grace the human ear) should look to stage recordings, Syberberg brings that singular, expressionistic, avant garde style, that creates a new work of art from an old one. No opera is as spiritually enveloping as this last of Wagner’s works, which deals with the search for the Holy Grail.
3 Don Giovanni (Mozart) 1979, directed by Joseph Losey; this is a stunningly mounted, and brilliantly atmospheric piece that fully engages this magisterial opera with its philosophical underpinnings. It may be Losey’s finest cinematic outing, and Ruggerio Raimondi, Jose Van Dam, Kiri Te Kanawa and Kenneth Riegel has never been better. This is the definitive Don Giovanni.
4 The Magic Flute (Mozart) 1975; directed by Ingmar Bergman; This masterwork is both cinematic (allowing for manipulations of time and space) and highly theatrical, blending the great master’s love of both forms. Typical for Bergman, it’s cerebral, and brings up some of the darker aspects of Mozart’s operatic masterpiece.
5 Carmen (Bizet) 1984; directed by Franceso Rosi; Julia Migenes makes a superb Carmen, as she comes across as someone who could lead a man to ruination, and she’s a splendid singer, as is the legendary Don Jose, Placido Domingo. I was almost reluctant to place this as high as I did because of it’s wide popularity, but there’s a reason it’s so beloved. Rosi’s use of setting is unmatched here, and all the highlights are note-perfect.
6 Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky) 1988; directed by Peter Weigl; this is an altogether ravishing film, intoxicating and well-sung, even if there is a dubbing issue. No matter, as Tchaikovsky’s greatest opera could never look and hear so resplendently. The women are superlative, the cinematography breathless, the orchestration sublime. Theresa Kubiak is heartbreaking as the heroine Tatiana, and George Solti captures the full-range of this great Tchaikovsky score.
7 Otello (Verdi) 1986; directed by Franco Zeffirelli; one of the opera’s most shattering moments, “The Willow Song” has been cut, and while that is rather unforgivable, Franco Zeffirelli’s other ‘liberties’ come off brilliantly. Both Domingo as Otello, and Ricciarelli as Desdemona are definitive, and Justino Diaz as Iago is excellent. Great set design, lighting and atmospheric, capturing the escalating tensions of one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies. The framing, the compositions, the spectacular orchestration all conspire to leave one shaken.
8 Madama Butterfly (Puccini) This 1995 Frédéric Mitterand production of Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly demonstrates the power of film to expand the audiovisual horizons of opera. First, it presents mostly young, attractive singers — such as 23-year-old Chinese soprano Ying Huan — in the principal roles instead of the typical aging and often portly singers. Huan’s stunning voice and innocent face make her a nearly perfect Cio-Cio San. Second, the film sets the action in a lush, lakeside Tunisian hamlet specially constructed to resemble the setting of the opera, a Japanese town outside Nagasaki. Such an arrangement permits the camera to break free of the stage-bound environment and roam outdoors and indoors, marrying nature with the culture and costumes of 1904 Japan and the splendor of Puccini’s music. Third, the film uses technical magic — acoustics, stereo sound reproduction, period costumes, special effects, careful cinematography, and subtitles — to take the opera well beyond the limits of the conventional opera stage. Of course, it is the haunting orchestral and vocal melodies that tell the story. Huan and tenor Richard Troxell ate excellent.
9 La Boheme (Puccini) 1965; directed by Franco Zeffirelli; The 1963 Milan production of La Boheme, preserved in this 1965 film, provides a richly satisfying take on Puccinis much-loved romantic tragedy. The staging is opulent, not least in the way Zeffirelli opens up the Cafe Momus and turns it into a warm, vibrant haven for the bohemians and their followers. But its the relationships which really matter here. Puccinis score–conducted with restrained passion by Herbert von Karajan–develops in a wonderfully linear way, with some of his most intensely moving arias and duets underpinning the evolution of the bohemian artists, particularly Rodolfo and Marcello, from immature egotists to rounded human beings, touched by tragedy. The filming is a bit unsophisticated by the sonorous melodies, and the singing from Raimondi and Mirella Freni is magnificent, and in a class by itself. I think I play this more than any other opera.
10 Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini) 1974; Like all successfully filmed operas, Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s 1974 film of his 1972 La Scala production of The Barber of Seville weaves its magic on multiple levels: naturalistic lighting and camera work that take the viewer to the heart of the action; wonderful casting and magnificent singing; singers who can act; and conducting (by Claudio Abbado) that simply revels in the richness of an extraordinarily vibrant and much-loved score. Rossini’s 1816 work, based on Beaumarchais’s Figaro characters, is one of the great joys of comic opera, crammed with familiar arias and duets, all of which drive the galloping pace of the book without ever interrupting the plot. At the heart of the tale is Figaro (Hermann Prey, making the most of his trademark theme “Largo al factotum”) and the love triangle of Count Almaviva (a lusty Luigi Alva), the willful Rosina (Teresa Berganza at the peak of her mezzo-soprano powers), and her guardian with an ulterior motive, Batolo. No matter how many times you watch this you are always mesmerized.
11 Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni) 1982; directed by Franco Zeffirelli
12 Rigoletto (Verdi) 1983; Both Ingvar Wixell and Luciano Pavarotti are spectacular in this great film.
13 Salome (Strauss) 1992; directed by Gotz Friedrich
14 A Village Romeo and Juliet (Delius) 1986; directed by Peter Weigel
15 Boris Gudonov (Mussorgsky) 1956; directed by Vera Stroyera
16 The Tales of Hoffmann (Offenbach) 1951; directed by Powell and Pressburger
17 Tosca (Puccini) 1976; directed by Gianfranco De Bosio
18 Le Nozze di Figaro 1978; (Mozart) directed by Jean-Pierre Ponelle
19 Death in Venice (Britten) 1981; directed by Tony Palmer
20 Elektra (Strauss) 1993; directed by Gotz Friedrich
21 Werther (Massenet) 1985; directed by Peter Weigl
22 Pagliacci (Leoncavallo) 1984; directed by Franco Zeffirelli
23 Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Shostakovich) 1992; directed by Peter Weigl
24 The Bartered Bride (Smetana) 1981; directed by Frantisek Filip
25 Maria Stuarda (Donizetti) 1988; directed by Peter Weigl