"A musical dramatist on a par with Mozart!!"
Stephen Pletko | London, Ontario, Canada | 03/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The one [man] who knows how to appeal right to the heart."
The above quotation comes from the ending of this documentary that presents the life and works of the great opera composer Giacomo Puccini (1858 to 1924). Besides learning about the man behind the music, we also get to hear, through actual performances, beautiful extracts from his musical operas.
Throughout this documentary are brief comments made by respected others such as opera producers, conductors, and opera singers. Even his granddaughter offers some interesting comments. Be sure to turn on the English subtitles as some of these comments are not in English.
This film is narrated by actor (known especially for his Shakespearean talents) Kenneth Branagh.
What amazed me about this film is that, despite being only an hour long, it covers an incredible amount regarding Puccini's life. With the addition of actual performances of Puccini's works, this documentary is also incredibly enjoyable and not ever boring.
The post-Romantic era of art and music covered the period from about 1890 to 1910. The Italian operatic tradition was carried on into this era and was led by Puccini. His mixture of lyricism and late Romantic harmony produced some of the most loved operas of the twentieth century, including "La boheme," "Tosca," and "Madama Butterfly." His final opera "Turandot" reflects his supreme mastery of the post-Romantic style. (Extracts of all these operas are in this documentary.)
Finally, the DVD (the one released in 2006) is perfect in picture and sound quality. It has no extras.
In conclusion, for those looking to find a quick way to learn everything about G. Puccini and to become acquainted with his magnificent operas and music, this is the film to see!!
(1997; 1 hr; full screen; 7 scenes; made for TV)