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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

319. The Met Summer Encore: Don Carlo


    So, should recordings of opera and Shakespeare be included in everyfilmin2011?
    Thus far, I've tended to think so if they are shown in cinemas and are recordings.
    Therefore, I won't include the upcoming Glyndebourne season because, as far as I know, they are live broadcasts.
    However, I have so far included pop concerts, Shakespeare, classical music and opera which has been pre-recorded.
    This has made a mountainous task rather more difficult because, by and large, they are very time-consuming.
    Tonight, for example, Mrs W and I were sat in screen 10 at Derby Showcase De Lux for a bum-numbing three hours and 40 minutes.
    And no, there wasn't even a interval to enable us to sustain ourselves with a family bag of M & Ms.
    In short, Don Carlo was too long. I know, that's nobody's fault but Verdi's but without intervals and, crucially, atmosphere to keep us going, eyelids began to droop.
    This wasn't the case when we saw Carmen earlier this year but then we had tub-thumping tunes to feast on.
    By contrast, Don Carlo is dreary. The characters are miserable or merciless. Either way tittering wasn't on the agenda.
    Don Carlo, for the uninitiated, is the story of  the agony of King Philip of Spain's son, whose beloved is suddenly told to marry his dad.
    Phil and Don don't get on so this causes a mighty bust-up.
    Actually, it causes more than three hours of weeping and hollering from the world's best opera singers.
    Robert Alagna plays Don Marina Poplavskaya is Elisabeth, the object of his affections.
    They and Ferruccio Furlanetto, who plays Philip, dominate proceedings with huge performances.
    But the trouble with Don Carlo for us that it has such a daft premise.
    The idea that Don Carlo, a prince, and Elisabeth, a queen, would give up everything after falling in love in a ten-minute meeting in a dark wood seemed too far fetched by half.
    As a film it struggled because it didn't have enough sense of being at the theatre.
    We thought that Carmen also beat it because it was in 3D, one of the rare times it has been used well at the cinema this year.
    It's tricky to mark Don Carlo because we are no experts in the world of opera and, clearly, these were top players.
    But, just on the basis of whether it made good cinema, we couldn't give it more than 6/10.

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319. The Met Summer Encore: Don Carlo


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