Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Fellowship of the Ring - Breathtaking!

This is the first part of the trilogy written by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973). An English writer and a Professor at the Oxford University. He fought as a second lieutenant with the Lancashire Fusiliers during the First World War. He started writing the 'Lord of the Rings' in 1925.The synopsis of the Fellowship: In a small village in the Shire, a young hobbit named Frodo has been entrusted with an ancient Ring; he must embark on an epic journey to the depths of Mount Doom in order to destroy it with the help of his eight companions.This film made by Peter Jackson is an immortal legend in itself. This will feature in the top twenty films ever made. I had not read the book before I saw the film. Yet, I feel that I have read pages and pages as the film is so descriptive and expansive. I am fortunate to own the extended version of the complete trilogy. All parts are played to perfection by the cast and the casting is one of the best seen in years. It is a case of the best possible person for the part at every stage of the film. Special mention for Sir Ian Mckellen, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm and Elijah Wood. The film is a masterpiece and bears potential of outshining its contemporaries. The music of the film is its strongest point. Howard Shore has come out with a magnificent score. It is epic film music writing. I will call it breathtaking and will not hesitate to grant it Seven Stars!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ruggero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci

I have always been fascinated by the beautiful aria, 'Vesti La Giubba' from this opera since the last thirty five years. But today, I heard the complete opera for the first time on the DVD video of Deutsche Grammophon Gessellschaft. It is a combination coupling disc with Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana. The singing is superb from Placido Domingo and Teresa Stratas with the Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Alla Scala, Milan under Georges Pretre. This is a 1981 Unitel performance. Superb. The opera has been filmed by none other than Franco Zeffirelli who made masterpieces like 'Jesus of Nazareth' and 'Romeo and Juliet'. He filmed the opera in an empty theatre creating a vision that maintains the sense of a stage seen from an auditorium.
If you are hearing an opera for the first time and you like a tragedy with a love triangle, then this is a perfect opera for you and a very good performance too on this disc. This is an opera consisting of a prologue and two acts written by Ruggero Leoncavallo. This opera remains one of the most popular works in the operatic repertoire.