507 Pacific Ave. Long Beach CA 90802 • Tel 562.432.5934 • Andreas Mitisek: Artistic & General Director

LBOpera Cinema

at the Art Theatre Long Beach

Prepare for our 2015 season, mimosa in hand, at one of our matinee movie events this season. We'll provide the refreshments, you just need to sit back, relax, and immerse yourself!

previous movies:

cabin in the sky

Why not prepare for Duke Ellington's only opera, Queenie Pie, with a performance by the Duke himself? Vincent Minelli's 1943 film finds little Joe dead, killed over gambling debts. But the powers that be give Joe one more chance to prove he's worthy of the Pearly Gates. It's a classic battle of good vs. evil, fought over Little Joe's Soul! Ethel Waters, Eddie Anderson, Lena Horne, Louis Armstron, and the Duke himself, make this film truly a classic.

hail bop! a portrait of john adams

How does the mind of a master work?

Follow Adams, out into the wilderness, into the recording studio, and deep into his catalog of groundbreaking works. With total abandon, he takes you to his sanctuary and illuminates the writing process - even discussing his most controversial work, The Death of Klinghoffer.

 

slaughterhouse-five

Billy Pligrim shuffles between multiple lives - past, present, and future - in Kurt Vonnegut's most infamous anti-war novel and this cinematic cult-classic

Vonnegut injects Igor Stravinsky's A Soldier's Tale with both relevance and controversy. Come and see what made him one of America's most incendiary artists in the first place.

slavery by another name

Sat. May 17, 11am

In The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, a slave owner vanishes, leaving his family, neighbors, and slaves struggling with their perceptions of his disappearance. 

Join us for this eye-opening documentary that challenges the common perception that slavery disappeared with the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War.

 

THRONE OF BLOOD

Prepare yourself for Macbeth by Ernest Bloch with this Japanese cult classic.

If there was ever any doubt about Shakespeare’s work transcending cultural boundaries and artistic mediums, Akira Kurosawa squelched it with his indelible fusion of the playwright’s greatest tragedy with traditional Japanese Noh Theater. Set in feudal Japan, Kurosawa’s 1957 transposition of Macbeth provides a ghostly and powerful counterpoint/introduction to the brilliance and intimacy of Ernest Bloch’s opera. Kurosawa’s portrayal of a ruthless warrior’s bloody rise to power and self-implosion illuminates the adaptability of this cautionary tale of cutthroat ambition.

VINCENT AND THEO

This film paints a colorful backdrop for Michael Gordon's opera Van Gogh.

A 1990 biographical film detailing the deeply personal and at times painful relationship between Vincent Van Gogh and his brother, Theo. Robert Altman's visual creation illuminates the disparity between the internal torment of the brilliant artist and the struggle of a savant engaged in the world around him.

 

CLAUDE DEBUSSY: THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER

Compare this "other" Usher opera with Philip Glass' upcoming LBO production of The Fall of the House of Usher.

Towards the end of his life, Claude Debussy began working on two small operas that were to be paired together and that set Poe’s stories: The Devil in the Belfry and The Fall of the House of Usher. Both remained unfinished but Musicologist Robert Orledge completed and staged Usher in 2007. This dazzling, hyper-sophisticated staging was filmed at the Bregenz Festival in Austria. It is paired with Prélude à l'Après-Midi d'un Faun. Come and see yet another master composer's interpretation of Poe's most infamous and chilling tale.

 

TRAFFIC

Gabriela Ortiz's opera Camelia la Texana - Only the Truth is a docu-opera about a dangerous smuggling operation from Mexico to Los Angeles. 

Prepare yourself for that journey with a wider look at the seedy network of drug traffickers and the officers trying to stop them. Steven Soderbergh's Academy Award winning film provides a panorama of characters from both sides of the border, creating three vignettes that follow the dealings of king-pins, crooked cops, users, and dealers.

 

WAGNER AND ME

Stephen Fry has been a lifelong fan of the music of Richard Wagner - the world's most controversial composer. But Stephen is also Jewish and, as he is acutely aware, the intensity of his enthusiasm for the composer was matched - or even surpassed - by that of Hitler.

In this film Stephen makes a journey to explore his fascination for Wagner and confront his troubled legacy. Can he disentangle the music he loves from its poisonous links with Hitler?

Animated by Stephen's wit and intelligence, and featuring a soundtrack of Wagner's best-loved music, Wagner & Me is a fantastic introduction to the life and art of one of the most important composers ever, and a must-see film for those who already know and love his work.

 

EVERYONE STARES: THE POLICE INSIDE OUT

Come see his documentary outlining The Police's rise to fame from their own perspective. The project represents a culmination of Copeland's super 8 footage that spans the heydays of the band's existence and the film also includes rarely heard live performance footage, original studio tracks, and new arrangements of classic Police tunes made for this film alone. Come and track the artistic progression from rock-god to operatic composer.

 

The Music Never stopped

To get in the right mindset for LBO’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, catch this incredible true story from Dr. Oliver Sacks.

What is it about music that delivers a fully formed emotional memory years, even decades, later--as though you were hearing it for the very first time? The Music Never Stopped is about a young man with amnesia who has no memory since the 1960's except for new music that he hears. (104 Minutes)

 

Bodas de Sangre

Margarita Xirgu, the main character in Golijov’s opera Ainadamar, was a famous actress and a close friend of the Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca. She stars in this 1938 movie of Lorca’s most famous play, Blood Wedding. The story is based on a newspaper fragment which told of a family vendetta and a bride who ran away with the son of the enemy family. Lorca uses it to investigate the subjects which fascinated him: desire, repression, ritual, and the constraints and commitments of the rural Spanish community in which the play is rooted. (104 Minutes)

The Good Fight

Follow the Americans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade as they slip past border guards, enter Spain, and join the fight for liberation in the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War. This unit of volunteers became part of an International Brigade of 35,000 civilian soldiers from more than 50 nations to battle against the well-equipped troops of Generalissimo Francisco Franco. It was during this war that Federico Garcia Lorca was killed for supporting artistic freedom. (98 Minutes)

The Piano

With a hauntingly beautiful score by Michael Nyman, the composer of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. Writer/director Jane Campion unearths emotional undercurrents and churning intensity in this Oscar winning film about a Scottish woman named Ada who has been mute since age 6 because she simply chose not to speak. Ada travels with her daughter and piano to the wilderness of New Zealand...(120 minutes)

 

Paris: the Luminous Years

This documentary sets the stage for LBO's Parisian double bill of the surreal: The Breasts of Tiresias by Francis Poulenc and Tears of a Knife by Bohuslav Martinu.
Between 1905 and 1930, Paris served as the epicenter of the cultural movement known as 'Modernism'. It hit western society, radically altering modes of expression in such areas as literature, film, dance, music, theater and painting.

This film makes the City of Lights the active protagonist of the story - the catalyst for all of the changes that impacted European and American arts during that 25-year span. It traces famous key figures in the art world's first international avant-garde through a combination of vintage Parisian footage and contemporary scenes. Meet up with fellow LBO fans for coffee, mimosas, and watch this exhilarating documentary. (120 Minutes)

ASTOR PIAZZOLLA IN PORTRAIT

Come and watch this fascinating documentary about the composer of LBO's Maria de Buenos Aires.
The film charts  Piazzolla's turbulent and complicated life through revealing interviews with Piazzaolla himself, the ones who knew him best and the great Argentinian musicians who performed with him.  A mixture of music, biography, and interviews that reveal the good as much as the bad. A must see!  The movie is free, bring $10 for the refreshments and a pre-movie lecture with Andreas Mitisek and

COSI

Lewis fakes his way into a job as occupational therapist with a group of asylum inmates. Although his original assignment is to stage a variety show, manic-depressive patient Roy soon hijacks the project and convinces Lewis to stage of his favorite opera, Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte. Lewis' unlikely cast ranges from psycho firebug Doug and scruffy loudmouth Sandra to depressive, dirt-obsessed Ruth  and self-effacing drug addict Julie .  The assignment proves to be more than the director bargained for... (100min, 1996, Australian comedy, directed by Mark Joffe).

Dialogues des Carmélites by Francis Poulenc

Based on Georges Bernanos's story about young Blanche, a selfless nun martyred along with the rest of her convent during the French Revolution, Carmélites, thanks to Francis Poulenc's considerable musical and dramatic skills, is one of the most emotionally direct and unapologetically moral of all modern operas.
French, actress-turned-director Marthe Keller spare staging effectively evokes the austere world of the cloistered nuns, and there are many striking images, notably the opera's final tragic moments when the women literally drop, one by one, to the musical sound of the guillotine's blade. Filmed 1999 production at the Opéra national du Rhin in Strasbourg, France.

LA Belle HElene by J. Offenbach

Staged and costumed by Laurent Pelly, Offenbach’s parody of the origins of the Trojan War is a supreme manifestation of his comic genius. It combines a musically superb performance with a stream of visual humour that flows from Pelly’s core idea that the action all takes place in the imagination of a sleeping, sex-starved, suburban housewife. Dame Felicity Lott is magnificent as the woman who dreams of being the most beautiful woman in the world. The production explodes with gaiety and invention throughout and "is as innocently filthy as only the French can manage" (The Times). Lott adds an undeniable elegance and sings with "Mozartian refinement" (Herald Tribune).

MARGARET GARNER

This compelling documentary takes us behind the scenes of Richard Danielpour's opera Margaret Garner (libretto by Toni Morrison), starring Denyce Graves, and includes many scenes from the opera.  The film simultaneously documents the life of the real Margaret Garner who inspired the opera and Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Beloved. Garner was a slave in Kentucky who fled with her family to Ohio in 1856, five years before the Civil War began.  The family was captured and sent back to slavery, but only after Garner killed one of her own daughters to spare her from enslavement.  The story made national headlines and forced the courts to decide whether Garner was a murderer--acknowledging that she killed a human being--or did she merely destroy a slave owner's property.

Tunisian director Mustapha Hasnoui directs this intriguing look at a new American opera and at race relations in America--past and present--including a confrontation between Denyce Graves and a descendant of the slave holder who "owned" Margaret Garner.

QATSI TRILOGY  - Godfrey Reggio / Philip Glass

These films are part of the Philip Glass Festival, a collaboration between Long Beach Opera and Pacific Symphony to explore in-depth one of today’s most influential and fascinating composers and his music.

Sunday, February 27, 11am  Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of balance (1983)
Sunday, March 6, 11am   Powaqqatsi: Life in transformation (1988)
Sunday, March 20, 11am Naqoyqatsi: Life as war (2002)

The Qatsi trilogy is a series of three films produced by Godfrey Reggio and scored by Philip Glass. The titles of all three films are words from the language of the Hopi people, in which the word "qatsi" means "life."

Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of balance (1983) The film consists primarily of slow motion and time-lapse stock footage of cities and many natural landscapes across the United States. The visual tone poem contains neither dialogue nor a vocalized narration: its tone is set by the juxtaposition of images and music. Reggio explains the lack of dialogue by stating "it's not for lack of love of the language that these films have no words. It's because, from my point of view, our language is in a state of vast humiliation. It no longer describes the world in which we live." In the Hopi language, the word Koyaanisqatsi means "crazy life, life in turmoil, life out of balance, life disintegrating, a state of life that calls for another way of living".

Powaqqatsi: Life in transformation (1988) Powaqqatsi is a Hopi word meaning "parasitic way of life" or "life in transition" . While Koyaanisqatsi focused on modern life in industrial countries, Powaqqatsi, which similarly has no dialogue, focuses more on the conflict in third world countries between traditional ways of life and the new ways of life introduced with industrialization. As with Koyaanisqatsi and the third and final part of the 'Qatsi' trilogy, Naqoyqatsi, the film is strongly related to its soundtrack, written by Philip Glass. Here, human voices (especially children's and mainly from South America and Africa) appear more than in Koyaanisqatsi, in harmony with the film's message and images.

Naqoyqatsi: Life as war (2002) Naqoyqatsi focuses on society's transition from a natural environment to a technology-based industrial environment. The name of the film is a Hopi word  meaning "life as war". In contrast to the first two parts, 80% of Naqoyqatsi was created from archive footage and stock images, manipulated and processed digitally and intercut with specially-produced Computer generated imagery. Reggio described the process as "virtual cinema". The World Trade Center, very near the studio, was attacked on 11 September 2001 during the making of the film, which had an impact on the film and convinced those making it of the importance of its subject.

Medea by Pier Paolo Pasolini

The only movie made by Maria Callas, Medea nevertheless contains not a note of the great diva singing. And yet her presence is stunning, with a face (often seen in close-up) that cuts across the frame like a great phenomenon of nature. This raw, mostly wordless take on the Greek classic is a characteristic film from the influential Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini: intellectually sophisticated yet almost primitive in its feel. The weird, jagged locations and Pasolini's elliptical style contribute to the sense of violence already in the story, and the visual approach (realized by Gangs of New York production designer Dante Ferretti) brings in African masks and pagan rituals. If it's not quite satisfying as a treatment of the original Euripides play, it succeeds as a blunt experience in its own right. And tantalizingly suggests what Callas might have done had she opted for a movie career. --Robert Horton (Italian with English subtitles)

And the SHip Sails on

Federico Fellini's 1984 film is one of the late master's most fanciful projects, while simultaneously striking one of the most somber notes in the director's filmography.
A luxury liner sets sail from Italy, full of artists, a royal entourage, and one rhinoceros. The point of the voyage is to scatter the ashes of a world-famous diva, but the exotic passengers--blithely unaware of the imminent conflict--have many, more private intrigues going on behind closed doors. Still, it is the self-containment and formality of these travelers, at once absurd and moving, that sticks with the viewer: the way the many singers, musicians, and conductors (and one plump archduke) seem aware, in public, of embodying a privileged history. Fabricated entirely in Rome's famed Cinecittà studios, And the Ship Sails On (E la nave va) reaches spectacular new visual heights with its stylized re-creation of a decadent bygone era. (In Italian with English subtitles).

Philip Glass: Looking Glass

This documentary captures the overflowing energy and activity of one today's greatest composers, Philip Glass, and allows us to follow him from New York to London and from Paris to Boston. He speaks about his beginnings, his moving to Paris for two years of intensive study with Nadia Boulanger, his meeting with Indian musician Ravi Shankar and director Robert Wilson, who had a deep influence on his career. The film also shows him at work on the last details of his opera The Sound of a Voice, directed by Robert Woodruff and conducted by Alan Johnson.

Éric Darmon's camera, with its poetic shots and original framings, takes us for a musical journey into seven months of the life of the composer who, rising from the underground scene of the seventies, brought on a revolution in modern theater.

The Love for the Three Oranges
by Sergei Prokofiev

This opera, premiered in Chicago in 1921, is a farce about a morose, hypochondriacal Prince in the land of the King of Clubs. His father tries to make him laugh with the help of the wizard, Tchelio, while Princess Clarice and the Prime Minister want him to die so they can take over the kingdom, and are aided by the witch, Fata Morgana. Commedia dell'arte figures help, hinder and comment. Morgana dooms the Prince to fall in love with three oranges; after confrontations with a huge cook, a rat, and a lovely princess, all eventually turns out well.
The just-about-perfect production from the Netherlands Opera, designed and directed by Laurent Kelly, is playful, brilliantly colorful, and fun to watch. Huge playing cards make up the scenery and props and sets whirl in and around. The Prince, in his pajamas throughout, may be dreaming, and there are special effects galore. You'll probably never see a better performance of this wacky work.

Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
by Dimitri Shostakovich

Dimitri Shostakovich's lurid tale of sex, murder, and corruption, premiered in 1934 and was an enormous success until Stalin saw it two years later, resulting in a Pravda review that viciously condemned it. The opera was banned in the Soviet Union for almost thirty years.

The heroine is Katerina, the daughter-in-law of Boris, a greedy, lecherous merchant, and the frustrated wife of his impotent son. Katerina poisons Boris and when her husband returns she and her lover, Sergei, kill him too, burying him in the cellar. The body is discovered during their wedding party. Haunted by guilt, Katerina confesses and the newlyweds are consigned to Siberia. When Sergei takes up with another woman, Katerina pushes her into the river and then jumps in herself.

This filmed opera by director Petr Weigl features the vocals of famed Russian soprano Galina Vishnevskaya as Katerina, conducted by her husband, Mstislav Rostropovich.

TOsCA's KISS - Il Bacio di Tosca

Meet the inhabitants of the "Casa di Riposa" in Milan, a home for retired opera singers, founded by composer Giuseppe Verdi in 1896. In his documentary film Tosca’s Kiss, Swiss director Daniel Schmid has captured a world in which these wonderful singers (many of whom had significant careers on the opera stage) re-live and re-enact their triumphant roles of the glorious past. Tosca’s Kiss is a touching and often hilarious film on the subject of aging and the power and timeless capacity of music to inspire.

 

Mozart Brothers

The Mozart Brothers is a theatrical farce about a Swedish staging of Mozart's Don Giovanni with a new, subversive director that puts more than one spin on its cast and orchestra ensemble. With a chaotic plot that snowballs into a charade of theater sports ad-libs, the film features a Fellini-style staging, full of loud, impromptu dialog and opera song outbursts.

 

Platée by Jean-Philippe Rameau

The production of this French baroque opera by the Paris Opera proves an engaging romp, with a spectacular mixture of styles ranging from hip hop to West Side Story. The story revolves around a scheme devised by the gods to punish the ceaselessly jealous Juno by creating the illusion of an affair between her husband, Jupiter, and Platea, an ugly little frog who fruitlessly attempts to seduce anyone she encounters. Tricked by the gods that she has finally found true love, Platea and Jupiter go through the motions of a mock courtship and wedding, only for Juno to raise her veil and recognize the joke; poor Platea becomes the laughingstock of the country.

Orfeo ed Eruidice by Christoph W.Gluck

Gluck told the story of Orpheus with a simple directness that has survived more than two centuries of changing musical fashions. In this 1991 modernization by stage director Harry Kupfer Orpheus is visually a guitar-toting, leather-clad rocker.

German countertenor Jochen Kowalski has exactly the right kind of voice, and he conveys powerfully the varied emotions in this story of a titanic struggle between love and death.

 

El Niño by John Adams

Filled with Adams' usual driving rhythms and supple vocal lines, this modern Nativity oratorio tells the story of the birth of Christ but from various modern, mostly female points of view. The text is in Spanish, English, and Latin, and comes from both New World and Old World sources.This production is directed by Peter Sellars. It was filmed in Paris at the Théâtre du Châtelet and features Dawn Upshaw, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Willard White, conducted by Kent Nagano.

?