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In the Shadow of the Stars
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While there's a similarity to Waiting for Guffman, this differs in that it is real, and that the people featured are amazingly talented and well-spoken. And even if they are not "stars," most of them seem to have worked harder pursuing their dream of making music than I can even comprehend.
My favorite is the soprano (?) chorister who wistfully says, "I'm playing a peasant, but my costume is silk because it wears well. It's sturdy. We can't get them wet, we're not allowed to sweat in them, because they are silk. But that baritone (principal)...he can wipe his face on __his__ costume and it's ok." But I also like the baritone quoting Anna Russell. And the trucker trying to learn "Madamina" while on the road. (Listening to his voice lesson is exasperating. He sounds great to my untutored ear, but his teacher, paid to be a perfectionist, only finds faults.) Then there's the baritone who sang some choral piece in Latin for his audition, and laughs while he reflects that they should have let him go right then. He seems the most at peace with his decisions and his life.
It seems to me that this would be a great film for anyone with a dream: baseball, music, whatever. Or even if you don't have a dream. It's still fun.
So perhaps its unfair to compare this worthy attempt to those. Here we see interviews with several members of the San Francisco opera chorus, interspersed with scenes of the chorus in performance. I'm an opera lover and especially fond of the sound of the chorus, so I enjoyed those parts very much.
Some of the subjects captured my attention more than others; the fellow who escaped the horror of his slum life in the Bronx was especially moving. I was also interested in the plight of the young woman who left the chorus to make her way in Europe, with very little money. The others had more or less interest to me.
I would have liked more resolution of the lives....did the poor girl get work? How did the fellow performing for the first time as a soloist do? We see him approaching the stage door, but the film leaves us there.
I think this will have appeal mostly to opera lovers and singers.
There is an interesting extra feature showing the acceptance speech of the couple who made the film. The man went on for quite a while, leaving the woman no time at all to speak.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fascinating account of the lives of real opera stars. Insightful.Published 21 months ago by RPCV6466
...as an actor I found this film to be quite interesting....also for the non performers.....the inside and insights are poignant and hilarious!Published on January 21, 2014 by lydia
One has to wonder how many of these rave 5 star reviews are by the chorus of singers in the film? Documentary films have progressed tremendously since this film won an Academy... Read morePublished on April 14, 2012 by M. Pope
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