There’s plenty of drama to spare when it comes to the world of opera. Occasionally, filmmakers have been directly inspired by the songbooks of classical composers, while others have looked to the performances and thundering music to create symbolic, contemporary interpretations. Opera is rich, profound source material. The opulent costumes and staging, the history, and the emotional stories are ripe for cinematic adaptations. We’ve collected a few of our favorites for your perusal in celebration of the 109th anniversary of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and the Blu-ray release of Don Giovanni. See what a behind-the-scenes documentary, a Werner Herzog epic, and other retellings of opera’s theatrical tales have to offer after the jump. … Read More
Rising from the Oslofjord inlet like an iceberg is the Oslo Opera House. Co.Design recently wrote about a faceted wall installation inside the modern performance space created by Danish-Icelandic artist, Olafur Eliasson. Glowing walls line the foyer, adding a striking effect. We felt inspired by the design and went searching for some of the most beautiful opera houses in the world. These grandiose venues conjure the drama, history, and craft associated with the art form. Take a trip around the world in our gallery, where we’ve selected 15 of the most stunning spaces for opera aficionados and architecture/design lovers. … Read More
So this is a cool project: a group of young opera singers have adapted Puccini’s classic opera La Bohème (also the source material for Rent) into the contemporary world of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. But unlike other high-profile remakes of La Bohème, The Bohemians is actually an opera (with some tango and jazz thrown in), sung in the original Italian, and attempts, in the words of Producer Adam Margulies, to ”create a new world for an old piece.” Watch the teaser video after the jump, and then if this sounds as fascinating to you as it does to us, consider helping the creators fund their post-production on Kickstarter. … Read More
When the idea for the first Bregenz Festival was tossed around almost seventy years ago, the Austrian city didn’t have the funds to build an opera house, so they constructed a makeshift stage against the city’s most beautiful natural setting — Lake Constance. The idea seemed wildly eccentric at the time, but the ingenuity paid off, and European audiences flocked to the floating stage each summer for the annual performances. This year the opera festival returns on July 20th with what promises to be a spectacular production of André Cheniér by Italian composer Umberto Giordano.
With just over three months left before opening night, preparations are well underway to construct yet another elaborate set on Lake Constance, including a 50-foot head that was attached to a floating body by a crane. Click through for a better look at the work-in-progress and to take a photo tour of past festival stages of note. … Read More
Celebrated for a body of work that confronts injustice, William Kentridge addresses South Africa’s brutal apartheid past and ongoing transformation through metaphoric imagery.
Working in a variety of media, Kentridge makes socially engaging art, while exploring the absurd. His films are constructed by continually drawing, erasing, and drawing again on the same piece of paper; in a recent production of Shostokovich’s opera The Nose for The Metropolitan Opera, Kentridge incorporated many of these animated shorts to potently convey the story of a runaway nose and the owner’s attempt to find it. … Read More
Cambodia — a country where performing arts were once banned altogether — will debut their first rock opera next month. It’s called WHERE ELEPHANTS WEEP and tells the story of a Cambodian refugee who returns to his country after spending some time in America. [LAT]
THE DEVIL AND GEORGE BUSH, a direct-to-the-Web opera… Read More
Van Sant on the bus for Kool-Aid Test: Indie filmmaker GUS VAN SANT has signed on to direct THE ELECTRIC KOOL-AID ACID TEST, based on TOM WOLFE’s trippy book about the drug-addled rise of the hippie movement. FOX SEARCHLIGHT will produce the film, and DUSTIN LANCE BLACK will write the screenplay.
Black and Van Sant… Read More