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La Belle et la Bête (Glass) Movie 2003

Popular Singers in this Opera Recording

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Information on the Performance
Information about the Recording
  • Published by: Criterion  
  • Date Published: 2003  
  • Format: DVD & BD
  • Quality Video: 4 Audio:4
  • Subtitles: yessubs, ensubs  
  • Video Recording from: AMAZON     #ad   Amazon product Get this Recording

The three parts of the Cocteau film trilogy are conceived completely differently. For Orphée, Philip Glass takes the film script as the basis for the libretto of a chamber opera, but allows free visualization for the staging. Les Enfants Terribles is a combination of dance and drama based on the screenplay of the film.

For La Belle et la Bête, by far the most performed opera of the three, Philip Glass came up with the idea to perform the opera during the projection of the film, removing and replacing the original soundtrack, including the voices of the actors by his own music and the voices of the singers. In order to perfectly match the singing to the movements of the lips of the actors on the screen, he edited all the lines and placed them precisely so that the music perfectly matched the images. So Glass timed every word of the film’s dialogues, placed them in the score, and then synchronized music and film using a computer.

A stage production requires three different levels: the film projected on a large screen, the singers on a stage in front of the screen and the musicians. It takes precision as well as synchronization from the orchestra and the singers. It was sometimes chosen to have the singers turn their backs to the audience when they were not singing in order to follow their cinematographic lookalikes on screen.

A more up-to-date solution is to provide each singer with a tablet on which the film is projected.

There is a CD recording of this movie opera, but no video recording, although theoretically you can play the CD while watching the movie without the original sound. We’ve tried it, but it’s a chore to find a correct starting point and after a few minutes the synchronization already falters.

Some years ago someone came up with the idea of replacing the sound channel of a DVD of the film La Belle et la Bête (1946) with the sound of the CD and synchronizing it. That worked, although it is not always perfect.

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