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Classical Notes

Classical music at the movies: more!

Posted at 8:46 PM on May 5, 2009 by John Birge

I can't remember the last time that classical music was so well represented by so many movies at the same time. As I reported a few weeks ago, we had the Berlin Philharmonic documentary Trip to Asia, and the opening of The Soloist with Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr. The Soloist continues in movie theaters across the country. Trip to Asia is back in the Twin Cities for two encore screenings from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Film Festival (MPR members get a discount, btw). I recommend them both, especially Trip to Asia, which has an authenticity which the Hollywood-ized Soloist can't really reach. You can view trailers for both films here.

In addition to those, the final Met at the Movies presentation this Saturday is a live transmission of Rossini's La Cenerentola, featuring the Latvian mezzo Elina Garanca, who can light up any screen, anywhere:

And, finally, a metaphorical trip through Handel's masterpiece. William Klein's film Messiah is a complete performance of the work, against which Klein juxtaposes modern, international images of ritual, atrocity, and exultation. Exploring the music in relation to the lives of the people singing it, Klein shot the film in such far-flung locations as Dublin, Soweto, Jakarta, and Las Vegas, interspersing groups as disparate as the Lavender Light, the Dallas Police Choir, and Texas prison inmates with the dominant chorus, Les Musiciens du Louvre. It's at the Walker Art Center on May 17; this trailer gives a little taste: