Currently browsing the "opera" tag.

Quickie Review: Pavarotti (documentary)

Don’t get me wrong. My appreciation for Pavarotti does not mean I appreciate having been subjected as a kid to live radio broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera every Saturday afternoon. That was strictly my parents’ thing. Sure, I survived the likes of Madame Butterfly, Carmen and La bohème. But I didn’t have a clue what anyone was singing, and didn’t much care. So how do I know of Luciano Pavarotti? He was all over the place in my youth, opera’s ambassador to the world at large. He was on morning shows and late night television, the Muppets and Sesame Street, and featured in commercials for Shower to Shower and American Express. He had a larger than life personality, an infectious smile, and yes – a really big voice.

Marguerite

Every few years two movies come out about the same subject at the same time, and one is lauded, while the other is overlooked. I hope that doesn’t happen with Marguerite, a truly wonderful French film “inspired by” the story of tone-deaf but passionate opera diva wannabe Florence Foster Jenkins. An American film starring Meryl Streep will be covering her story again in a few months time. But it is hard to believe that Meryl can top Catherine Frot’s performance, though if anyone can… And what a character she is! In the French version, she is known as Baroness Marguerite Dumont and she is heart-breakingly delightful!

Quartet

“Ah, Bach!”If you’re a fan of M*A*S*H, you’ll get the reference. Hawkeye advises classical-music neophyte Radar to use the phrase as a catch-all to impress a nurse. Still cracks me up. That said, here we go:

“Ah, Verdi!” If that means anything to you at all, then it’s quite possible you’ll like Quartet. For what it’s worth, my mother was lukewarm about it; Arty Chick’s mother loved it. Both know their stuff when it comes to classical music. The film is about a home for retired musicians who put on an annual concert/fundraiser to celebrate the birthday of Italian composer Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi. Think The Golden Girls meets The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, only never quite as fun or funny, despite excellent performances by a bevy of British royalty of stage and screen.