Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Operamania 101: Opera Soothes The Savage Beast

Who here has already seen the summer blockbuster, Inception? If you have, you've no doubt caught the scene-stealing Tom Hardy who plays Eames the forger in the Christopher Nolan movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Tom Hardy may have propelled himself to Hollywood's A-list with that break-out role but he already proved he's quite the acting powerhouse with last year's British film, Charles Bronson. Hardy is nearly unrecognizable, but his compelling portrayal as Bronson injected much humanity into a film about England's most notorious prisoner.

At the age of 19, Charles Bronson robbed a post office and got sentenced to 7 years in jail. His sentence was repeatedly extended due to his "loose cannon" behaviour and several hostage-taking incidents that he instigated. Bronson found himself in and out of various prisons and psychiatric hospitals for the next 30 years, 26 of which were spent in solitary confinement.

The film is uber-violent and humorous in that "A Clockwork Orange for the 21st century" way. As a further homage to Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece, Bronson director Brent Meeske used operatic music in several integral scenes. Unlike A Clockwork Orange with only Rossini's The Thieving Magpie and William Tell Overture as its main operatic pieces, the Bronson soundtrack featured many different opera composers.

Va pensiero (Chorus of Hebrew Slaves) from Nabucco, Act III - Verdi

Trauermarsch from Götterdämmerung - Wagner

Chi dona luce al cor? from Atilla - Verdi

La Vergine degli angeli from La forza del destino - Verdi

Entry of the Gods into Valhalla from Das Rheingold - Wagner

Flower Duet from Lakmé - Léo Delibes

Coro a bocca chiusa/Humming Chorus from Madama Butterfly - Puccini

The soundtrack is not ALL opera though. There is a track from New Order and also one from Pet Shop Boys. And can I say, you'll never think of It's A Sin the same way again after watching this movie.

~ Ling Chan

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