Town Mouse on cinema opera

On Saturday, William and I sank into the Curzon cinema’s plushest seats to watch the Met’s spectacular Götterdämmerung, beamed, in high definition, from New York. It isn’t quite the same as being there, although, in some ways, it’s better, in that the audience is taken behind the stage. But close-ups should be used sparingly, if only to avoid revealing production secrets.

A friend saw a broadcast of the Royal Opera House’s Tosca, in which the evil Scarpia controls his network of torturers from a book-lined study. One shot showed that the shelves were lined with bound copies of Punch: unexpected reading for the sadistic chief of police, particularly as the magazine didn’t begin publication until 41 years after the dramatic action takes place.

The Met’s Norns, in Götterdämmerung, wove strands of rope that, we noticed, had been lettered and numbered, to prevent those gloomiest of sisters from getting into the wrong kind of twist.

Next day, to The Artist, shortly before it carried all before it at the Baftas. What an essay in Gallic charm and poise! The film is about a silent-film actor who can’t adapt to the talkies, at the time of the Wall Street Crash. Many parallels could be made with the internet and the Eurozone crisis, but none of them half so delightful.

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