November 17 – 19, 2000

Opera on Film Weekend

We're thrilled to welcome acclaimed singer and actress Julia Migenes to the Egyptian for this series!

Series compiled by Gwen Deglise.

Special Thanks to: Los Angeles Opera League, Molly Sieffert; Elisabeth Pollon; Daniel Toscan du Plantier; Gaumont, Philipe de Chaisemartin; New Yorker Films, Rebeca Conget; Mike Thomas.







At the junction of Eros and Thanatos, opera is drama set to music. From the traditional fairy tale of Mozart's MAGIC FLUTE, to the Greek tragedy of Verdi's LA TRAVIATA, the romantic tragedy of Bizet's CARMEN, the tragic love of Puccini's LA BOHEME and the fantastic tragi-comedy of Mozart's DON GIOVANNI, it's the story of the ageless conflict between duty and desire, where true love must triumph over all – except Death.

Opera on film goes back to the earliest days of cinema: one of the first filmmakers to attempt it was Georges Melies, with his adaptation in 1903 of Berlioz's Faust. While opera films of the silent era were accompanied by a live orchestra, the era of sound film had quite a different challenge: most film actors couldn't actually sing! Opera films became either a record of a stage performance, or a film using actors who were dubbed with the voices of well-known professional singers.

Led by Bergman's THE MAGIC FLUTE, the 1980's and 1990's saw many operas conceived specifically for the wide screen, where the actors are the singers - featuring the amazing voices and great acting performances of Placido Domingo, Babara Hendricks, Julia Migenes, Kiri Te Kanawa and Teresa Stratas.

Friday, November 17 - 8:00 PM

Julia Migenes in-person!

CARMEN, 1984, Gaumont, 152 min. Dir: Francesco Rosi. Prosper Merimé's legendary femme fatale tale, immortalized by composer George Bizet, CARMEN has been adapted to film many times -- but director Francesco Rosi's film is arguably the best. In 19th century Andalucia, Don Jose (Placido Domingo) destroys his life for the woman he loves, Carmen (Julia Migenes) -- then destroys her when she no longer returns his love. Migenes is stunning in her interpretation of the tempestuous gypsy, with her deathless credo of freedom at any cost. A feast for the ears and eyes! Presented in association with the Los Angeles Opera League. Introduction to the screening by Julia Migenes. Ms. Migenes will be interviewed by music commentator Rich Capparela.

Saturday November 18 - 5:30 PM

LA TRAVIATA, 1982, Universal, 112 min. Dir: Franco Zeffirelli. Legendary tenor Placido Domingo makes his cinematic debut in this magnificent film, which also marks the first starring role for renowned soprano Teresa Stratas. Violetta, a fallen woman, sacrifices her love for Alfredo to satisfy the honor of his father. Based on Alexandre Dumas Jr.’s novel Camille, and adapted by Guiseppe Verdi into one of the masterpieces of romantic opera. "Having cast the film close to perfection, Mr. Zeffirelli has staged it in a way that serves both the film and the grandeur of the score." -- Vincent Canby, New York Times

Saturday November 18 - 8:30 PM

LA BOHČME, 1987, New Yorker, 106 min. Passionate cinematic interpretation by the prolific Italian director Luigi Comencini (PINOCCHIO) of Puccini's opera about the tragic love between the friendly poet Rodolfo (played by Luca Canonici and sung by Jose Carreras) and the lonely consumptive flower girl Mimi (Barbara Hendricks, in her first starring role), in the heart of Paris in early 1900.


Sunday November 19 - 5:00 PM

THE MAGIC FLUTE, 1974, 134 min. Director Ingmar Bergman shot Mozart’s last operatic masterpiece for Swedish television in 1973, on a studio in which the famed 18th century Royal Court Theatre of Drottningholm was recreated. A heroic prince (Joseph Köstlinger) has been enlisted by the Queen of the Night (Brigit Nordin) to rescue her daughter, the beautiful Pamina (Irma Urrila), from her evil father, Sarastro (Ulrilk Cold). The music is sublime, and the film stunning to look at with gorgeous cinematography by Bergman favorite Sven Nykvist. "THE MAGIC FLUTE is magical indeed, charming and musically fulfilling, a perfect co-mingling of one form of art and another." -- Charles Champlin, Los Angeles Times

Sunday November 19 - 7:45 PM

DON GIOVANNI, 1980, New Yorker, 185 min. "The finest things God ever made," said French writer Flaubert "are the sea, Hamlet and Mozart's Don Giovanni." Brilliantly adapted by director Joseph Losey, who transported the action of the opera from Spain to Italy, from the nocturnal ambience of Seville to the natural beauty of the Veneto countryside and Andrea Palladio's splendid Villa Rotonda. Famous womanizer Don Giovanni (Ruggero Raimondi) flies from one conquest to another until the Commendatore (John Macurdy) returns from the dead to transport Don Giovanni to Hell to avenge the seduction of his daughter Donna Anna (Edda Moster). With Kiri Te Kanawa as Donna Elvira.