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The greatest classical composer movie

Puccini's story might not be operatic, but could it be cinematic?

A most elegant and forgivable villain.
A most elegant and forgivable villain.

Regarding the Puccini story, one of our resplendent writers (Matt Lickona) wanted to know why this hasn’t been turned into an opera. I’m not sure how an opera would work but a staged production of the story using Puccini as a soundtrack is intriguing.

I started to wonder if there have been any movies made about Puccini’s life and there are two, that I can find, made for Italian Television, the most recent of which is from 2009. It was during the research for this movie that what amounts to Puccini’s second family was discovered.

From what I’ve read, this 2009 version cleans Puccini’s relations up a little bit. The relationship with Doria, the maid, is platonic and her role as go-between with her cousin, the other woman, isn’t exposed.

I think we’re due for a great composer movie and Puccini should be the subject. Ah, but what makes a great movie about a composer?

To my mind, Amadeus is the only great movie made about a composer. Why?

Amadeus is about Mozart’s music. The music is the star of the movie from start to finish and despite it's seriousness, there is always a sense of humor about the movie — just like Mozart's music.

It is Salieri’s adoration of Mozart’s music and disgust for Mozart’s personality that makes his character so interesting. Salieri’s resentment of his own mediocrity is something most of us can relate to and when he tries to measure himself to Mozart, we pity him. He is a most elegant and forgivable villain.

There is tension between the glory of Mozart’s music and the childishness of his person and Salieri is our guide. However, throughout the movie, the music is constantly the star.

Who wouldn’t want to see Puccini’s story told through the lense of his music?

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A most elegant and forgivable villain.
A most elegant and forgivable villain.

Regarding the Puccini story, one of our resplendent writers (Matt Lickona) wanted to know why this hasn’t been turned into an opera. I’m not sure how an opera would work but a staged production of the story using Puccini as a soundtrack is intriguing.

I started to wonder if there have been any movies made about Puccini’s life and there are two, that I can find, made for Italian Television, the most recent of which is from 2009. It was during the research for this movie that what amounts to Puccini’s second family was discovered.

From what I’ve read, this 2009 version cleans Puccini’s relations up a little bit. The relationship with Doria, the maid, is platonic and her role as go-between with her cousin, the other woman, isn’t exposed.

I think we’re due for a great composer movie and Puccini should be the subject. Ah, but what makes a great movie about a composer?

To my mind, Amadeus is the only great movie made about a composer. Why?

Amadeus is about Mozart’s music. The music is the star of the movie from start to finish and despite it's seriousness, there is always a sense of humor about the movie — just like Mozart's music.

It is Salieri’s adoration of Mozart’s music and disgust for Mozart’s personality that makes his character so interesting. Salieri’s resentment of his own mediocrity is something most of us can relate to and when he tries to measure himself to Mozart, we pity him. He is a most elegant and forgivable villain.

There is tension between the glory of Mozart’s music and the childishness of his person and Salieri is our guide. However, throughout the movie, the music is constantly the star.

Who wouldn’t want to see Puccini’s story told through the lense of his music?

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Comments
7

The film, Amadeus, held my attention better than any cd of classical music ever did. Puccini? I say, bring it on.

Immortal Beloved was another film about a composer. Although Beethoven's music played more of a supporting role rather than star, it was still a decent movie that had me humming the Ode to Spring when I left the theater. (1994 - Director: Bernard Rose, Writer: Bernard Rose, Stars: Gary Oldman, Jeroen Krabbé, Isabella Rossellini)

Aug. 19, 2014

We're going to look at Immortal Beloved a little bit along with the monster Richard Burton version of Wagner's life....those are the okay movies. Then we'll see the "so bad it needs to be seen" movie about Mahler from 1974.

Aug. 20, 2014

Don't forget Trevor Howard as Richard Wagner in Luchino Visconti's "Ludwig."

Aug. 20, 2014

I enjoyed Ken Russell's "The Music Lovers" (even though it's an accurate bio about Tchaikovsky). It's typical wild-and-crazy-guy Russell fluff, which critics loved or hated. But with Richard Chamberlain and Glenda Jackson as a married couple, what's not to like? ;-)

Aug. 21, 2014

I meant: NOT an accurate bio!

Aug. 21, 2014

And now Elton John is co-creating an HBO pilot, with Salieri running a music academy in 1790's Vienna. That sounds juicy!

http://blogs.indiewire.com/bent/alan-ball-elton-john-and-david-furnish-teaming-up-for-hbo-pilot-set-in-world-of-1700s-classical-music-20140807

Aug. 24, 2014

Garrett,

Are you a new movie reviewer at the Reader?

Sept. 2, 2014

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