While all of us on the WBJC staff love movies, we’re often annoyed by the way in which classical music is portrayed on the silver screen these days. If it’s used at all, it’s generally depicted as something stuffy rich people enjoy, or it’s the background music to a serial killer’s gruesome exploits. This wasn’t always the case – years ago, many mainstream movies used classical music in their soundtracks, included characters who wrote or performed the stuff for a living, & even – gasp! – showed people attending the opera & enjoying themselves. (Remember “Moonstruck” & “Pretty Woman”?)
Two recent films that Jim & I very much enjoyed,”Moonrise Kingdom” & “To Rome With Love”, don’t just utilize classical music; they celebrate it. In “Moonrise Kingdom”, Benjamin Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra” & “Noye’s Fludde” are so beautifully woven into the storyline that they aren’t merely part of the soundtrack; they’re almost supporting actors. “To Rome With Love” includes a character who possesses a gorgeous operatic voice, but can only sing in the shower. The role is played by tenor Fabio Armiliato, who sounds great & is featured in several of the movie’s funniest scenes. I may never again be able to hear “Vesti la giubba” without giggling.
Let’s hope this trend continues & that it makes its way into mainstream movies, too. Meantime, what are some of your favorite movies or scenes that involve classical music?
Tags:Alec Baldwin, classical music, Fabio Armiliato, Leoncavallo, movies, opera, Pagliacci, Pretty Woman, Tenor, To Rome With Love, Vesti la giubba, Woody Allen