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Directors Go to the Opera

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 22, 2011 at 10:43AM

For those who missed Sky Opera Shorts, celebrating six years of Sky Arts' collaboration with the English National Opera, here are three videos whose directors used a popular aria from the 2008/2009 season. The films were aired on Sky Arts in February 2009 in the documentary Opera Shorts: Behind The Scenes, complete with interviews with the directors.
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For those who missed Sky Opera Shorts, celebrating six years of Sky Arts' collaboration with the English National Opera, here are three videos whose directors used a popular aria from the 2008/2009 season. The films were aired on Sky Arts in February 2009 in the documentary Opera Shorts: Behind The Scenes, complete with interviews with the directors.

Werner Herzog counterpoints mute Africans with "O Soave Fanciulla" (Oh you vision of beauty) from La Boheme. He said:

"Filming in High Definition in Africa allowed us to juxtapose the traditions of opera with a real innovative setting, the uniqueness of which is hopefully reflected in the final film.”


Music-video director Dougal Wilson turned Rossini's "Largo al Factotum" (Here at your service to do or die) from The Barber of Seville into a silent barbershop film that recalls The Addams Family's Cousin It. Love this.

Brit Sam Taylor Wood (Nowhere Boy) does Pagliacci's "Vesti la Giubba" in a perfectly straightforward way:

[Hat Tip Brain Pickings.]

This article is related to: Genres, Video, Shorts


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.