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Music
Discuss music itself, plus music videos, performance DVDs, concerts, opera, and so on. la la la o/^
16

Operas and Ballets -- I'm going to need help with this list
Topic by: kaream
Posted: January 5, 2008 - 1:25 AM PST
Last Reply: August 28, 2008 - 3:30 PM PDT

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author topic: Operas and Ballets -- I'm going to need help with this list
kaream
post #1  on January 5, 2008 - 1:25 AM PST  
Okay, classical music fans.

I've just now posted what could eventually become a pretty exhaustive list of GreenCine's entries for operas and ballets. (I use the word 'entries' rather than 'holdings' advisedly, because quite a few of these are not actually available.)

The list is titled 'Operas and Ballets at GreenCine, annotated'.

(Underdog, I understand the theory for providing a live link here to the list, but my HTML is mostly nonexistent. Would you mind coming to the rescue again please?)

I really need a lot of help from everyone, to make this list as useful as I was hoping. Chasing down the entries I did find was nightmare enough, but I do have to say that both GC's genre listings for 'Music' and 'Music Videos/Performance', as well as their Advanced Search capabilities generally, keep falling down on the job. I was literally getting to the point where I felt that in order to catch everything I wanted for the list, I would have to search Titles separately for every opera, ballet, composer, AND performer imaginable.

Even for the entries that I have, I ought to go back and add more information. To do something like this you need to keep at least five windows open: for GC Advanced Search and items found, for the list edit, for wikipedia, for IMDb, and for Amazon.

In many instances Amazon is the best source of information for this type of music; IMDb omits a number of more obscure productions, but frequently the main problem with them is that since they are interested only in the film production, they'll give little or no information about the composer, conductor, orchestra, choreographer, stage director, etc. Amazon does a little better with these, but tends to garble their information. At both sites, you really need to read through the reviews and comments hunting for scraps and clues.

I'm familiar with most of the works listed, but I've actually watched only a very few of these specific performances. (I have to say that several of them are not the ones I would have chosen for my own library, but what the hey.) As with the earlier list of Shakespeare, again I do not have public email, but any comments, corrections, or suggestions may simply be posted here at this thread.

I hope you'll find the list useful.
kaream
post #2  on January 5, 2008 - 11:33 AM PST  
> On January 5, 2008 - 1:25 AM PST kaream wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I really need a lot of help from everyone, to make this list as useful as I was hoping.
> ---------------------------------

Oops, let me clarify what I was asking.

I'm set up to do the grunt work of verifying who's doing what in a performance.

My problem is just thinking of, or finding hidden and untagged in GC's vaults, whatever else they have in the way of operas or ballets that ought to be added to the list. I kept stumbling across stuff quite by accident as I was putting the list together, so I'm confident there must still be a bunch more in there. If you've rented, or otherwise know of something I've overlooked, please let me know and I'll add it. Thanks.
weezy
post #3  on January 6, 2008 - 9:38 PM PST  
Thanks for this fantastic list, kaream. Operas and Ballets at GreenCine, annotated



sethbecky
post #4  on January 15, 2008 - 2:34 PM PST  
This might be too jazzy for you (some of it looks almost like early Jerome Robinson choreography to me), but Black Tights is a lot of fun. Maurice Chevalier narrating 4 narrative ballet pieces with excellent staging and some great dancers (including Cyd Charisse, another point in favor of it being jazz dance as opposed to "proper" ballet).

It isn't on Kaream's list.

Of course, Maurice Chevalier belongs on every list, somewhere. The most cheerful and enthusiastic sexist ever. He's like that cute, offensive old uncle you can't help but love anyway.
kaream
post #5  on January 16, 2008 - 12:16 AM PST  
Thanks, Sethbecky, for a interesting suggestion.

Basically what I was trying to do in putting the list together was to more or less follow the lead of what I've seen over the years in how large record/CD/Video Disc/DVD stores traditionally tend to distinguish between what they classify as 'classical' as opposed to 'everything else', with its various subgenres.

I've seen Saura and other flamenco-type dance handled both ways, but I flipped a coin and decided to include them. Of course there are no sharp dividing lines in this kind of classification, but I was trying not to stray too far afield. I think legitimate arguments can be made for either position, but in making choices I kept coming back to the fairly arbitrary but also fairly consistent divisions I've actually seen in such large stores.

I think it would be a great idea for you to put together a list of 'serious' but not quite 'classical' (in this sense) performances that you can identify from GC's catalog.I have very little experience with or knowledge of such dance performances, and would not be at all competent to make this kind of judgment. Of course there's also Agnes DeMille, Gene Kelly, etc, but perhaps unfairly I automatically omitted these kinds of things, I think if you're wiling to spend some time on it you could come up with a very useful list of this sort.
sethbecky
post #6  on January 16, 2008 - 1:00 AM PST  
The soundtrack for this would definitely be in the "Classical annex" out back, behind the woodshed, watch out for the spiders.

Of course, so would Kronos Quartet, no matter what they're playing, unless it were on a movie soundtrack, in which case they'd be shelved right by the Philip Glass soundtracks for horror movies :-)

Based on the "Would Tower Records have hidden it in their Classical Ghetto" standard, I'd include this one.
kaream
post #7  on January 16, 2008 - 10:36 AM PST  
Yes, that's exactly the criterion I was aiming for -- Kronos, Glass, the ghetto with the spiders.

It's included now; I appreciate your help.
underdog
post #8  on January 16, 2008 - 11:52 AM PST  
What do you know of this one: "Margaret Garner" ?

Libretto by Toni Morrison!

can't vouch for how the DVD will turn out but at least the opera itself sounds fascinating.
kaream
post #9  on January 16, 2008 - 1:32 PM PST  
It does sound interesting -- thanks. From descriptions I'm finding, I'm not quite sure whether this is the opera itself, or a movie *about* the opera and its story etc, or both. (In any case it can't be listed until GC obtains a copy.)
kaream
post #10  on January 17, 2008 - 10:11 PM PST  
Two more entries have been added to this list today, thanks to overlooked (sorry about that) suggestions from Chyekk:
--Gian Carlo Menotti's The Medium; and
--The Red Shoes

I know there's more of these sitting hiding in GC's vault. It's like a treasure hunt. Please keep the suggestions coming!
kaream
post #11  on January 17, 2008 - 11:20 PM PST  
> On January 16, 2008 - 10:36 AM PST kaream wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Yes, that's exactly the criterion I was aiming for -- Kronos, Glass, the ghetto with the spiders.
>
> It's included now; I appreciate your help.
>
> ---------------------------------

Well, speaking of Philip Glass, it hadn't occurred to me until just now to add his opera La Belle et la Bete (Beauty and the Beast), which is on the DVD of Jean Cocteau's 1946 film as an alternative soundtrack. The lyrics are (I believe) exactly identical to Cocteau's original dialog, but sung; and they are precisely synchronized to the film. The opera's premiere was a live performance, with a large movie screen above and behind the singers, with the original movie soundtrack turned off. It's fascinating to watch the movie twice, once each with the different soundtracks.

We're tracking these operas and ballets down one by one.
Vanamonde
post #12  on January 18, 2008 - 2:30 PM PST  
I cannot remain silent. I must speak out against the horror that is ballet.

To that end, in memory of the Fairness Doctrine, I refer you to that great bioflick of the 60's, the one that taught me to love Vanessa Redgrave and introduced me to modern dance and this Great Feminist of the Ole School:

Isadora

And her autobiography is a must read for all who can read English wish to call themselves educated.
kaream
post #13  on January 18, 2008 - 3:07 PM PST  
> On January 18, 2008 - 2:30 PM PST Vanamonde wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Isadora
> ---------------------------------

Yes; but as you're aware, Advanced Search returns the message 'no results.'

Chyekk
post #14  on January 18, 2008 - 7:39 PM PST  
> On January 17, 2008 - 11:20 PM PST kaream wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On January 16, 2008 - 10:36 AM PST kaream wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> > Yes, that's exactly the criterion I was aiming for -- Kronos, Glass, the ghetto with the spiders.
> >
> > It's included now; I appreciate your help.
> >
> > ---------------------------------
>
> Well, speaking of Philip Glass, it hadn't occurred to me until just now to add his opera La Belle et la Bete (Beauty and the Beast), which is on the DVD of Jean Cocteau's 1946 film as an alternative soundtrack.
> ---------------------------------

I love that movie, with or without the musical version!

Still speaking of Philip Glass, the SF Opera is going to start showing high-def recordings of some of their operas in theaters nationwide this spring. That includes the Glass opera Appomattox, and it will also be released on DVD sometime later.

kaream
post #15  on January 18, 2008 - 10:59 PM PST  
And again many thanks to Chyekk, for suggesting The Tales of Hoffmann, another Powell & Pressburger winner.
Vanamonde
post #16  on January 19, 2008 - 3:12 AM PST  
> On January 18, 2008 - 3:07 PM PST kaream wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Yes; but as you're aware, Advanced Search returns the message 'no results.'
> ---------------------------------

Painfully aware. Tis why I linked to the Wiki article.
Sorry.

kaream
post #17  on January 20, 2008 - 1:23 AM PST  
> On January 16, 2008 - 11:52 AM PST underdog wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> What do you know of this one: "Margaret Garner" ?
>
> Libretto by Toni Morrison!
>
> can't vouch for how the DVD will turn out but at least the opera itself sounds fascinating.
> ---------------------------------


Underdog, I'm making no attempt whatever to keep up with new GC acquisitions. If you, or any other staff, would post here or in the Shakespeare thread to alert me to anything that ought to be added to either list, I'd sure appreciate it.
underdog
post #18  on January 20, 2008 - 8:00 PM PST  
> On January 20, 2008 - 1:23 AM PST kaream wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On January 16, 2008 - 11:52 AM PST underdog wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> > What do you know of this one: "Margaret Garner" ?
> >
> > Libretto by Toni Morrison!
> >
> > can't vouch for how the DVD will turn out but at least the opera itself sounds fascinating.
> > ---------------------------------
>
>
> Underdog, I'm making no attempt whatever to keep up with new GC acquisitions. If you, or any other staff, would post here or in the Shakespeare thread to alert me to anything that ought to be added to either list, I'd sure appreciate it.
> ---------------------------------

But of course. We did add Margaret Garner as a request title - for now. We will try to post alerts here when we get other titles that fit your list, too. Cheers.

underdog
post #19  on April 29, 2008 - 11:20 AM PDT  
Here's a new one for ya, Kaream (and anyone else interested in unique modern operas):

Unsuk Chin: Alice in Wonderland.

The write-up for it says: Based on Lewis Carroll's famous and fascinatingly enigmatic novel Alice in Wonderland, it is a seductive, enchanting, sensuous opera set to a modern, ear-pleasing score - a triumph of creative fantasy. Unsuk Chin was born in Seoul in 1961, studied with György Ligeti in Hamburg and now lives in Berlin.
kaream
post #20  on April 30, 2008 - 4:52 PM PDT  
> On April 29, 2008 - 11:20 AM PDT underdog wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Here's a new one for ya, Kaream (and anyone else interested in unique modern operas):
>
> Unsuk Chin: Alice in Wonderland.
> ---------------------------------

Added to list -- thanks.

From what I can puzzle out from the confusing descriptions of Margaret Garner found here and at Facets, Amazon, and other sites, this DVD appears to be a French documentary about the opera rather than a full performance of the opera itself; without seeing it, there's no telling what it will actually be. I'm inclined to guess that a lot of it will be a French take on American race relations past and present, and can't help wondering whether there will be any acknowledgement of problems in race relations in France. North Paris riots, anyone?
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