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A Streetcar Named Desire (1998)

San Francisco Opera , Andre' Previn , Colin Graham  |  G |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: San Francisco Opera, Andre' Previn
  • Directors: Colin Graham
  • Format: PAL, Widescreen, Color
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: German, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Arthaus
  • Run Time: 167.00 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005BAIC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #427,180 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Streetcar Named Desire (A)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the few new operas that really hit the mark. June 16, 2001
Many, many new operas written each year. Some of them get workshopped by an opera company, and even fewer get to the stage of actually being performed in front of a paying audience. Now, if the composer has a name like Andre Previn, and the work is based on one of the twentieth centuries best know plays from one of America's most respected writers you most definitely have a head start. However, actually making all of these elements work together as a cohesive and worthwhile whole is the true challenge, and this new opera has met and exceed the expectations of that challenge. Here is a work that enhances the effect of the original rather than defacing it or 'dumbing it down'. The music is beautifully evocative of the time and place in which the drama is set, and has the huge benefit of being composed by a man who is also a jazz musican, and therefore understands that less often creates more. The libretto has been skillfully 'arranged' from the original play so that well known lines are still as they appeared in the original, but has been augmented for moments when there is more time needed to expand the original thoughts musically. The direction of Colin Graham is masterly, naturalistic and truly based on the development of each of the characters. The set is extremely clever in its simplicity, and yet still creates exactly the right claustrophobic atmosphere. And finally, the performances will be very hard to better. Renee Fleming is a singing actress of considerable stature who creates a new Blanche DuBois that is full of complexity and 'guts'. Both Elizabeth Futral and Rodney Gilfry give of their considerable best as Stella and Stanley, and also both look exactly right for the roles they play. Read more ›
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Great Disappointment February 28, 2006
I am crazy about Renee Fleming, admire Tennessee Williams, and can enjoy, say, Lulu -- so why did I dislike this so? The sets and cast look great; the acting is good enough. The fault, I suppose, lies primarily with the composer: he captures some of the desperation of Blanche, but not the (faded) beauty. Apparently, he wrote this part for Renee Fleming; but, for one thing, I would like to hear it sung more softly -- with slower tempos! Maybe there is vocal beauty here that this performance fails to capture because it doesn't let the music sufficiently "breathe." Renee Fleming has a wonderful melancholy look, which her at times almost Wagnerian vocalizing belies -- Isolde, fallen on hard times.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
I don't know. Maybe Tennessee Williams wrote operas and just forgot the music. Phillip Littell's libretto is faithful to Williams in great detail and he has added beautiful arias for the principals in complete harmony with their characters. Previn's music weaves it all together and evokes the atmosphere of New Orleans so naturally I can't remember how the play worked without it. I saw the telecast of the SFO's world premiere and recorded it, but the video is far superior to the telecast because the editors covered all the staging problems encountered by SFO. When I first heard that SFO had commissioned an opera of 'Streetcar' I said Blanche must be played by Renee Fleming, but had no other casting ideas. Fleming was perfect alright; when she sang I could smell Blanche's perfume. I know there were Stanley Kowalskis before Rodney Gilfrey, but who were they? Then there was Elizabeth Futral. Her singing, acting and LOOK made me smell a more natural aroma of juicy Stella. She was vocally, dramatically and visually so stunning that I think I'll shut up now. American operas and especially late 20th century operas rarely make my short list but this one is very near the top. Now, who's going to compose 'The Glass Menagerie'?
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flamingo? Canari? Tarantula? For sure a tragedy June 17, 2003
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
The libretto-writer and the composer have mainly kept the text of the play, thus going back to its social meaning, after the film that move away from it, though, maybe, with a less heavy hand due to the cutting of the last sentence of the play. The game is thus less social, more individual, and yet the main cause of the tragedy is the social bigotry of southern culture, of southern society, maybe of human society as a whole. But it is an opera and the play gets a completely new dimension. André Previn's music is very modern and it refuses all the singing variations that are so common in classical operas, particularly in the Italian tradition. That gives to the text a clarity and a force that it deserves. Yet the sensual music and the very expressive singing amplify the power of the text. This appears very claerly in Blanche's confession of her « crime » concerning her first husband. She enters a long aria that is poignant and dramatic. This is emphasized by her getting down from the apartment through the invisible wall facing the audience, down two steps to the front of the stage, as if she was moving from one place and one time to another place and another time. The equivalent of a flashback in this medium. This scene becomes central in the opera and unerasable from our memory and consciousness. Especially since Mitch remains in the apartment, behind Renée Fleming. Another outstanding scene is the finale. There, the apartment turns away to the left and opens a vast perspective, lighted in blue and misty, into which a blue-dressed Blanche walks as if she were going onto/into the vast blue sea she has just dreamed of. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Previn has captured the rough, tough husband all the way.
This is a really good movie and the Previn score is great, capturing the rough, tough husband and his wife's delicate sister, Blanche. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Leo
1.0 out of 5 stars Great Renee Fleming, horrible music.
Renee Fleming is the "savior" of this fiasco; she tries to make it work but cannot. You want the music to stop and see her act out the play, with the others, and to hell with... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Daniel G. Madigan
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor diction
Be aware that this opera whether you like it or not does not have subtitles or captions for the hearing impaired which are most older listeners. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Barry Kahan
I just finished watching this recent addition to my opera collection. Let us say the singers are all in top form, the libretto is all there in all of its magnificent sensual... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Alfredo R. Villanueva
4.0 out of 5 stars Futral sizzles, Rene burns
I don't like Tennessee Williams...such dull, dreary characters. And much of Previn's music seems contrived. Read more
Published on August 4, 2009 by Operafilly
4.0 out of 5 stars Desire
The fact that a life can be ruined by a series of unfortunate events becomes realistic, as Blanche becomes a victim. Read more
Published on June 12, 2007 by Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful modern opera
I was really not sure from the previous reviews whether or not I would like this modern opera version of "Streetcar Named Desire". Read more
Published on April 8, 2007 by leelee
1.0 out of 5 stars A WASTED OPPORTUNITY
Andre Previn and his librettist, Philip Littell, have performed a remarkable feat: they have taken what could have and should have been a tremendous opera, and managed to do... Read more
Published on October 23, 2005 by PROMINENT CRITIC
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!!
Andre' Previn did a wonderful job turning this wonderful play into an opera. Renee Fleming was absolutely wonderful as Blanche DuBois and Elizabeth Futral was exquisite as... Read more
Published on September 29, 2005 by J. Bankens
5.0 out of 5 stars Unconventional Genius
Previn's first attempt at opera succeeds marvelously with "A Streetcar Named Desire." The music is well written and understandable for the most part, though Previn obviously is... Read more
Published on February 28, 2005 by Meredith A.
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