Posted at 9:15 AM on April 15, 2011
by John Birge
The Festival opens this weekend, and includes three classical music titles of note:
Tonight & tomorrow, it's Kinshasa Symphony. Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is one of the poorest cities in the world. It is also home to the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste, a resolute group of musicians and singers who overcome considerable odds every day to bring classical music into their own lives and the lives of their fellow citizens. The conductor of the KS will talk before the screenings. AMAZING movie; here's the trailer:
Sunday afternoon, it's Wagner and Me: Famed British television personality Stephen Fry goes the annual Wagner festival in Bayreuth Germany, to confront as a music lover his attraction to Wagner, and as a Jew his repulsion to Wagner's association with Hitler.
And Sunday afternoon: Master Class Opera is the behind the scenes drama of 500 young talents auditioning for the prestigious Opera Studio, a master class at the world-renowned Bavarian State Opera (sorry, no trailer online!).
Some of these return later in the festival, so check the complete schedule, and if you see any of these, leave your comments!
Kinshasa Symphony is coming back Tuesday, April 19 at 4:45pm for a special ENCORE screening! The first two scheduled shows were sold out over the weekend! I saw it last Friday night.
Kinshasa Symphony was one of the most moving films I have seen in years. The juxtaposition of the poor economic conditions of the Congolese people with the beautiful music performed and embraced by the members of the orchestra is more than powerful, it's inspiring. The conductor and other leaders of this orchestra are self-taught musicians who show how a true love of music can lift the human spirit above any earthly hardship. Hearing Armand share his experiences in person in the Q&A after the screening made it all the more meaningful and real. This is MSPIFF at its best. This is film at its best. This is music at its best. I am a changed man after this experience. Thank you, MSPIFF. Thank you, Martin Baer. Thank you, Armand and all of the members of the orchestra for sharing your music and your story with the world.