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Margaret Garner

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Margaret Garner + Desdemona (Oberon Modern Plays)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Graves, Morrison
  • Directors: Mustapha Hasnaoui
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: FACETS
  • DVD Release Date: February 26, 2008
  • Run Time: 52 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00104Z8EI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,357 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Like Beloved, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Toni Morrison, the opera Margaret Garner was inspired by the true story of a slave who was forced to become the mistress of a slave-owner. In 1856, she fled from Kentucky with her family to the free state of Ohio. Rather than allow her two little girls to be taken back into slavery, Margaret killed her own children. The case became a cause célèbre. Should Margaret be tried for murder--a tacit admission by the white establishment that slaves were human beings--or should she be tried for destruction of property because her children belonged to a slave owner?
Tunisian director Mustapha Hasnoui s documentary offers a backstage look at Margaret Garner, which not only includes scenes from the opera but also the story of Garner herself, plus a chronicle of the problems incurred in mounting this memorable production and a glimpse into the life of mezzo soprano Denyce Graves. His film subtly documents race relations in America and the need to reconcile the past and present.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lightseeker on June 12, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The only thing I regret about the DVD entitled Margaret Garner is that there is no recording of a complete performance of the opera. One can only hope that such a recording will become available. One gets a good feel for what a complete performance would be like from the many scenes from rehearsals and performances that are included. The music and its performance are as compelling as any grand opera. The lead singers are first rate performers familiar to opera lovers.

This is a documentary interspersed with scenes from the opera to illustrate the narrative, as the camera follows Denyce Graves, mezzo-soprano backstage, in rehearsal and performance, and visiting the actual place where events took place that are the basis for the novel Beloved and the opera itself. The confrontation between Ms. Graves and a descendant or relative of the man who owned the slave Margaret Garner is intense, and raises the extant issue of the conflict between the guilt of white Americans who would prefer to forget the past and the anger of black Americans who want their history to not be forgotten.

The interview with and the speech given by Toni Morrison provide some insights into the challenges facing the writer of opera librettos, who are are following in the footsteps of Monteverdi, Wagner et al, of allowing the music to tell much the story, while the sung text itself is simplified.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Beautiful and insightful documentary! ! I wish there was a recording of the opera or at least a vocal recording!! Love!!
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