Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Graves, Morrison
Director: Mustapha Hasnaoui
Genres: Indie & Art House, Special Interests, Documentary
Like Beloved, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Toni Morrison, the opera Margaret Garner was inspired by the true story of a slave who was forced to become the mistress of a slave-owner. In 1856, she fled from Kentucky w... more »
A compelling documentary
Lightseeker | USA | 06/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The only thing I regret about the DVD entitled Margaret Garner is that there is no recording of a complete performance of the opera. One can only hope that such a recording will become available. One gets a good feel for what a complete performance would be like from the many scenes from rehearsals and performances that are included. The music and its performance are as compelling as any grand opera. The lead singers are first rate performers familiar to opera lovers.
This is a documentary interspersed with scenes from the opera to illustrate the narrative, as the camera follows Denyce Graves, mezzo-soprano backstage, in rehearsal and performance, and visiting the actual place where events took place that are the basis for the novel Beloved and the opera itself. The confrontation between Ms. Graves and a descendant or relative of the man who owned the slave Margaret Garner is intense, and raises the extant issue of the conflict between the guilt of white Americans who would prefer to forget the past and the anger of black Americans who want their history to not be forgotten.
The interview with and the speech given by Toni Morrison provide some insights into the challenges facing the writer of opera librettos, who are are following in the footsteps of Monteverdi, Wagner et al, of allowing the music to tell much the story, while the sung text itself is simplified."