Search - Sing Faster - The Stagehands' Ring Cycle on DVD

Sing Faster - The Stagehands' Ring Cycle
Sing Faster - The Stagehands' Ring Cycle
Director: Jon Else
Genres: Documentary
NR     2004     1hr 0min

Winner of the prestigious Filmmaker's Trophy at Sundance, SING FASTER is a spirited and comical behind-the-scenes look at Richard Wagner's beloved Ring Cycle, one of the most ambitious and spectacular operas in history. In...  more »


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Movie Details

Director: Jon Else
Creators: Jay Boekelheide, Richard Berge
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Music & Performing Arts
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 06/29/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Hilarious even if you don't know Wagner
Bruce Hodges | New York, NY | 06/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Watching this 1999 documentary over the weekend, I hadn't laughed so hard in months. Filmed during the San Francisco Opera's 1995 production of Wagner's Ring Cycle, "Sing Faster" offers a rare glimpse into the complexities, banalities, and realities of making an operatic extravaganza. The narration includes running commentary by the stagehands, who passionately summarize the plots, comment on the action and crack jokes about the length of the piece.

Meanwhile, as the show goes on upstairs, downstairs the technical crew are playing poker, or reading, or are engaged in any number of non-operatic pursuits while waiting for their cues. Marvelous camera-work often shows the production in full swing, but from the point of view of those backstage and engaged in tense problem-solving, such as figuring out how much fog to use, or how to choreograph a fight with a dragon for maximum impact.

But the offhand comments running through the hour-long piece are probably the most enjoyable. This is Wagner from the point of view of those who make the magic happen every night, but who remain virtually invisible while the show is going on. As hundreds of carpenters, electricians and others sweat to make each scene come to life, they offer terse, laconic analyses of the plot, plus an occasional bit of physical comedy.

The film ends with a romp through all four operas, filmed at hyper-speed, cleverly summing up the singing, conducting and visual effects in roughly two minutes. If anything, as the credits were rolling, I felt it was over too soon."
Wagner From The Nibelung's Point Of View
Joseph Kimsey | Pac NW | 02/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Like the Nibelungs in Wagner's drama, the stagehands at the San Fran opera are mercilessly whipped by an obnoxious troll (in this case, it's some dumpy loudmouth with glasses). Despite the lack of respect that they receive, the stagehands are absolutely essential in bringing these masterpieces to the stage, and this ultra-cool film is a visual document of them in action.

The film has endearing footage of the stagehand's own interpretations of the drama, as well as behind the scenes looks at the performers. Watching the dragon from behind the curtain, as well as Brunnhilde doing some Spanish dancing to Wagnerian music are particularly cool and funny.

If you're into Wagner, or interested in the world of theater, then this film is an absolute delight!"
Runs Rings Around Other Documentaries
Linda Yoder | Morton, IL United States | 06/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This gem is not just for opera nuts or Wagner lovers. In fact, even if you don't have special fondness for the Ring Cycle, you'll be enchanted by how it's told by the stage crew. This is not pure tech theater, either. It's a distillation of a monument in the making, complete with brilliantly photographed footage artfully placed over opera passages, including an extraordinary scene inside the dragon as it is being slain. Don't miss this one."
A Must for Wagnerites - as funny as Anna Russell
Jack M. Firestone | Miami, FL United States | 06/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a histerical look at the 1995 San Francisco Ring production from the Stagehands point of view. Some of the funniest discourse on the Ring I have ever heard. You also see the commitment and hard work of these unsung IATSE heros.The audio contains some great singing, but almost no look at the stage other than through the wings. (...)"