Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Match Point

I saw the movie "Match Point" on DVD the other night, and to the film's credit, I have been unable to get "Una furtiva lagrima," from Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore out of my head. It annoyed me that the Caruso recording Woody Allen used in the film always started from the second verse, but I was very impressed with the way the images in the film and the music (arias from various operas with various plots that could be connected with some of the emotional or narrative substance of the plot) went together. My favorite visual moment was when a tennis ball "paused" over the net while Caruso held a note for as long as he wanted to hold it. The rubato on the recording, though it was something that Caruso determined at the moment, was a fixed entity. The film (and our perception of gravity itself) had to be manipulated for the two elements to work together. When music takes priority, wonderful things can happen.

I liked the visual and musical aspects of the film, but I would have preferred a script with dialogue that sounded more plausible. Much of the dialogue could have been left out, because it just stated the obvious.

Well, I'm off to listen to Giuseppe Di Stefano's 1944 recording of the Donizetti (plus a whole bunch of other great tenor arias). And I'll finally get to hear the first verse.

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