17 movies

April 29, 1997

Richard Strauss's opera, from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

October 1, 1988

BBC documentary about Franz Kafka played by GREEK TV in 1990.This documentary is one of the ten films of "The Modern World: Ten Great Writers (1988)".

January 1, 1988

Giacomo Puccini's bittersweet opera of high-spirited bohemians and the doomed love between Rodolfo, the idealistic poet and Mimi, the consumptive flower-maker, is a beautifully balanced series of tableaux depicting the infectious joie de vivre of youth and the tragic waste of disease and separation. The legendary and incomparable partnership of Mirella Freni and Luciano Pavarotti as the two lovers has been captured in this special live recording from stage of the San Francisco Opera. Brian Large has adapted Francesca Zambello's production for video, further illuminating the fascinating interaction of Puccini's characters. Gino Quilico sings Marcello, the colorful and moody painter, whose tempestuous relationship with the flirtatious Musetta (sung by Sandra Pacetti), comically mirrors the more profound love of Rodolfo and Mimi. Nicolai Ghiaurov sings Colline.

January 1, 1982

Frida Kahlo: declared a symbol of Mexican national heritage, made into a cult figure by the women's movement, praised by the likes of Picasso and Breton, this film uses images and music to reveal the soul of an icon.

January 1, 1988

From the series "The Modern World: Ten Great Writers", this playful documentary introduces James Joyce's most famous work "Ulysses". It includes fantastic adaptations to film from passages of the novel. It also includes excerpts from a book written by Joyce's friend, the artist Frank Budgen, entitled "James Joyce and the making of Ulysses". Amongst those interviewed is author Anthony Burgess.

June 6, 1994

Modern adaptation of the classic operatic drama, with a few twists. Micaela, José's Mother, and Mörd (Death) are played by the same dancer. The action is reduced to a single act in 13 scenes. The love scenes are played to a minimum and the working women's fight is adjourned to the last scene [and cut from some DVD editions] that concentrates all the pathos announced throughout by the eerie music.

Dazzling, brash and dynamic, yet equally graceful and poetic. DIVINING was Judith Jamison's first major work as a choreographer for Ailey, evoking a strong feeling for African tribal ritual, is set to hauntingly rhythmic drum music. REVELATIONS, often describes as the company's signature tune, has become an American classic. It expresses Ailey's intense feelings for his roots, with Ailey's vivid "blood memories" of the blues, spirituals, gospel music, ragtime and folk songs as well as the hard life of the Southern black during the Depression. Set to Modern Jazz, THE STUCK-UP takes place in modern-day Harlem, about the cruel reality of urban street life as a young man is destroyed by drugs. CRY, choreographed by Alvin Ailey in 1971 for Judith Jamison, is one of his most famous pieces. Created as a birthday present for his mother, it is Ailey's tribute to black women and inspires moving emotions with its portrayal of struggle, anger and most importantly, its feeling of celebration.

Johannes Felsenstein’s production of HANSEL AND GRETEL presents it with every sinister element removed. The children remain in a home setting with their own bed central to the scene and the barest hint of a forest behind, while their father plays the witch as an amiable, totally benevolent figure, not sinister at all, even joining them in the final joyful ensemble. When they sing that the witch is dead, you find that the production contradicts that completely. Taking that unsinister stance means that the opera loses much of its bite. No doubt Felsenstein felt that it would make the piece more accessible for very young children, though many of them relish the sinister element. That said, it is a strong and capable performance, very well conducted and with a cast of good if not outstanding singers. One wonders what Felsenstein meant to convey, just as it is not clear why the central characters should regularly be carrying dolls. A highly individual version of a much-loved opera.

September 16, 1989

A delightful fairy tale, Mozart's final operatic legacy remains a great work in the spirit of the Enlightenment. Intertwining music of awesome purity and beauty with the conventions of musical comedy, it explores Man's search for truth and his confusion between the forces of light and dark. This production from The Drottningholm Court Theatre is conducted by Arnold Ostman and played on authentic period instruments.

January 1, 1983

This documentary examines Borges' extraordinary life and work, using dramatizations of his most memorable stories and rare interview footage with the author at his Buenos Aires home.

Richard Wagner's operatic retelling of the story of the search for the Holy Grail receives a lavish production in this video, which records performances held in Bayreuth, St. Petersburg, and Ravello, Italy. Internationally renowned tenor Placido Domingo leads the distinguished cast; Tony Palmer directs.

The life of Austrian composer Anton Bruckner and his numeromania.

Helena Rubinstein is rightly seen as one of the pioneers of a market worth millions - the female beauty market. Born in Krakow, Rubinstein started her career in the early years of the twentieth century in Australia, from where she quickly went on to conquer Europe and the United States. What began with twelve jars of her mother's beauty cream was to develop into a company with 100 branches in 14 countries and a workforce of 30,000 employees.

January 3, 1989

The last and arguably finest opera of Modest Mussorgsky is captured in one of its most powerful interpretations in this 1989 recording from the Vienna State Opera, conducted by Claudio Abbado. A moody opera that is thematically broad at times and intimately personal in others, "Khovanshchina" tells the story of the 17th-century clash between Russian conservatives and Peter the Great's reformists. Among the singers is renowned basso Nicolai Ghiaurov and Paata Burchuladze, as well as Anatoly Kocherga, Ludmila Semtchuk, and Heinz Zednik.

January 1, 1990

Alvin Ailey played a key role in the growth of modern dance in USA and his company, founded in 1958, is one of the USA’s oldest dance troupes as well as one of the most youthful and vital on the dance scene. In this two-part program, members of Ailey's dance company celebrate his memory by performing three works choreographed by Ailey himself, as well as a special ballet tribute choreographed by Ulysses Dove. Each piece is introduced by Judith Jamison, the dancer and choreographer whose career was nurtured to stardom by Ailey, and who was, at the time of this production, Artistic Director of the company. The Alvin Ailey Dance Theater is uniquely eclectic in range, repertory, and style. As a choreographer, Ailey explored the black experience and went beyond, finding universal human truths in all his work.

January 1, 1996

A funny, cruel exploration of the male psyche, Enter Achilles is set in a typical British pub, a shabby, nicotine-stained boozer. Pop songs tumble out of the jukebox, there is football on the TV, and the eight men lark around, pint glasses in hand. But their blokish fun is balanced on a knife-edge of tension, for beneath the mateyness lurks a disturbing undercurrent of paranoia and insecurity, where weakness is brutally exploited and violence covers up vulnerability.

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