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In the Shadow of the Stars
In the Shadow of the Stars
Actor: William S. Jones
Directors: Allie Light, Irving Saraf
Genres: Action & Adventure, Documentary
NR     2005     1hr 33min

Winner of the Academy AwardŽ for Best Documentary Feature and lauded by the San Francisco Chronicle as "wonderfully funny yet equally heart-rending," IN THE SHADOW OF THE STARS is a hilarious and affectionate look at the p...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: William S. Jones
Directors: Allie Light, Irving Saraf
Creators: Michael Chin, Allie Light, Irving Saraf, Mildred Iatrou, Lynn O'Donnell
Genres: Action & Adventure, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Music & Performing Arts
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 08/30/2005
Original Release Date: 01/01/1991
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1991
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 33min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

Outstanding "behind-the-scenes" look at the lives of singers
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The grand spectacle of opera -- the mega-stars, the scenery, the lights, the costumes -- would be much less grand were it not for the incredible talents and contributions of the opera chorus. Winner of a Best Documentary Academy Award (in 1991) "... Shadow ..." highlights several members of the San Francisco Opera chorus -- one of the best in the US -- displaying their talents, their dreams and ambitions, their everyday lives.From the baritone who married the mezzo to the husband of one of today's superstars (Ruth Ann Swenson), we see exactly what is involved in rehearsal and performance, the long hours, the commitment and versatility required to sing the variety of repertoire required of the members of the chorus. The video includes scenes of rehearsals and performances of "Il Trovatore," "Parsifal," "L'Africaine," "Flying Dutchman," "The Rake's Progress," and "MacBeth" among others.In keeping with the anonymous nature of a chorister's existence, none of the featured singers is identified in the credits (a few of them do identify themselves during their segments). The editing is incredibly well-done, the photography is wonderful, and the entire film "flows" with a sense of music and rhythm.A must see for any singer who aspires to sing onstage; or for anyone who desires a greater appreciation of just what goes into opera performance."
Great film!
Lump828 | Austin, TX | 03/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is an enchanting, well-photographed film full of humor, wit and compassion. The filmmakers do an excellent job of storytelling as they take the viewer behind the scenes of the opera and tell the tales of the would-be divas. You don't like the opera? Not a problem. This movie can be appreciated by anyone who has ever had a dream unfulfilled but dares to dream on. Bravo!!!"
Work and MAYBE your dreams will come true. But work.
Maria Beadnell | NY United States | 02/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"What a heartwarming, lovely documentary!

While there's a similarity to Waiting for Guffman, this differs in that it is real, and that the people featured are amazingly talented and well-spoken. And even if they are not "stars," most of them seem to have worked harder pursuing their dream of making music than I can even comprehend.

My favorite is the soprano (?) chorister who wistfully says, "I'm playing a peasant, but my costume is silk because it wears well. It's sturdy. We can't get them wet, we're not allowed to sweat in them, because they are silk. But that baritone (principal)...he can wipe his face on __his__ costume and it's ok." But I also like the baritone quoting Anna Russell. And the trucker trying to learn "Madamina" while on the road. (Listening to his voice lesson is exasperating. He sounds great to my untutored ear, but his teacher, paid to be a perfectionist, only finds faults.) Then there's the baritone who sang some choral piece in Latin for his audition, and laughs while he reflects that they should have let him go right then. He seems the most at peace with his decisions and his life.

It seems to me that this would be a great film for anyone with a dream: baseball, music, whatever. Or even if you don't have a dream. It's still fun."
Family Film
Zoe | 11/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a great film for everyone in the family. It is a wholesome, warm, sensitive look at the inner workings of the opera. This would make a great gift. I highly recommend this Oscar winner.