Saturday, 19 May 2012

Opera On Film: The Florentine Connection

It's like some sort of algorithm. There I was, doing the accounts in front on BBC2's Maestro At The Opera last night and less than five minutes in the two contestants ('Maths' and 'Dancer') got whisked off to Florence.

I imagine that this is largely because Florence happens to be the location for that soporific 'opera' montage in Ridley Scott's Hannibal, where slo-mo and Patrick Cassidy's nuclear strength earworm Vide Cor Meum come together to pervert an entire generation's idea of what an opera is:

Hey, maybe the meandering musak is what drives Hannibal himself over the edge. But then Florence is all a bit mixed up: Maths and Dancer found themselves in an Italian operatic conservatoire being taught by a couple of British conducting experts. It's like Merchant Ivory had produced the show.

Perhaps the real reason why any of this ties together comes from about 33 seconds into the clip from Hannibal, above. Who is the opera star performing in Ridley Scott's be-toga'd montage? None other than Danielle de Niese, one of the judges from the TV show and the woman referred to by the New York Times as 'the world's coolest soprano'. Clunky TV or contrived cinema notwithstanding then, it seems that Florence really is the go to home for opera glamour old and new.

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