DVD, Film, Horror, opera

Verdi: Macbeth And Terror At The Opera

Who needs a happy ending?

Not me, for sure. Recently, and I wish I’d tagged it, the great Clive Barker declared on Facebook that any any good horror avoids a happy ending. I’m no fan of romance either, not in books and generally not in film. Opera is about the only place for romance, yet even then the happy ending is often avoided with the death(s) of the main character(s). So, where’s my rambling going today?

Macbeth Poster

When Giuseppe Verdi wrote Macbeth in 1847 it was the first time that he attempted opera without a love story. This was unheard of in 19th century Italian opera.


Shakespeare’s plays provided Verdi with lifelong inspiration, but Macbeth was the first to be set as an opera. It was rewritten in 1865 but this version proved less successful, and Verdi’s Macbeth went out of fashion and was virtually unheard until a revival in the mid-twentieth century. Here’s Maria Callas:

In 1987 the Italian horror director Dario Argento flung Macbeth into the limelight with his brilliant film Terror at the Opera (also known simply as Opera).

Opera Poster

In the film, a young soprano gets her big break when the star of a production of  Macbeth is hit by a car. Reluctantly she accepts, believing the opera to be bad luck. Naturally, disaster follows when she becomes the target of a psychopath.

Terror at the Opera

It is a superb film and features some of Argento’s finest set pieces. The sound track combines opera and rock – Brian Eno having had a hand in it. If you know nothing of the film you may be surprised to see Ian Charleson of Chariots of Fire fame in a lead role. And the stars of the show? Many, including the music of Verdi – but oh, those ravens!

Film, opera

To Rome With Love


How did I miss this? Well, I know, because at the time of the release my head was down writing and I was lost in the streets of, erm, Rome! Funny how things work out. And I still wouldn’t know about it (was there no advertising?) but for the weekly newsletter I get from the Royal Opera House. Thanks ROH!

It has some mixed reviews but I’m willing to give Woody a go on this one. Now aged 76 the American director sounds  bit like me in this interview (source WENN):

“Moviemaker Woody Allen has vowed never to retire while his health allows him to work.

The revered director, 76, insists he has no plans to slow down and will work until a heart attack forces him to rethink his schedule.

The Midnight in Paris filmmaker tells WENN, “I can’t see myself retiring and fondling a dog some place. I like to get up and work and go out. I have too much energy and nervous anxiety so I don’t see myself retiring.

“Maybe I’ll suddenly get a stroke or a heart attack and I’m forced to retire but, if my health holds out, I don’t expect to retire; but the money could run out.”

Read the full interview: http://www.lovefilm.com/news/w/woody-allen-has-no-plans-to-retire.html