Saturday, April 26, 2014

Philip Glass' Rescore of Cocteau's "La Belle et la Bête" Performed Live to the Film in Santa Barbara This Wednesday

One of the most celebrated and unique works in Philip Glass’ recent career, his live interpretation of Jean Cocteau’s masterpieceLa Belle et la Bête is also his most deeply personal and romantic. For this production, Glass removed the film’s soundtrack and replaced it with his own musical score played live by the Philip Glass Ensemble. The dialogue is also performed live by the vocalists who are synchronized with the actors in the film. This mythical, lush and sweeping love story is a tale for the ages.
Oh wow. I would LOVE to see/hear this! Although Beauty and the Beast isn't my absolute favorite fairy tale of all time, and I pick and choose my opera viewing rather carefully, I'd go to this performance in a heartbeat. Cocteau's film is one of my absolute favorites ever (I have, I think four? five? slightly different presentations of it... and I can't get rid of a single one) and seeing/hearing the different score and vocal track, inspired by the film and made for the film, to match mood, action and dialogue and meant to be heard ONLY as you see the film (ie it's not supposed to be a separate work) and to hear it being played and sung LIVE? Well, that's just.. goose bump worthy.

From The Independent:
“No one had ever done this before: take a talking film, turn off the soundtrack, and create a new one from start to finish,” said Michael Riesman, who has been part of the project since its inception in 1995. He will conduct the Philip Glass Ensemble in a live performance of the score — accompanied by the film, of course — this Wednesday at the Granada Theatre. 
The film is the 1946 classic La belle et la bête, directed by Jean Cocteau — a genius whose work Glass found continually inspiring. As Riesman noted in a recent interview, the composer turned one Cocteau screenplay into a more conventional opera and another into a ballet/opera. For this one, he decided to overlay new music onto the ethereal imagery. 
“It was quite a complicated process,” Riesman recalled. “[After we received the first draft of the score] we found there were lots of problems. The bed of music was okay, but the vocal parts weren’t close enough [to the actors’ dialogue] to be convincing. I thought we needed to at least do as good a job as a badly dubbed film. The right person’s mouth had to be moving!
“Sometimes we shifted the vocal line; in other cases, we threw it back to Philip, who would totally rewrite the section. This went on for weeks. We were already in rehearsals, so it was pretty scary. Fresh pages were coming in daily.”
However hurried, the results were magnificent. In the New York Times, Allan Kozinn praised the way Glass’s music reflected the film’s “visual and atmospheric touches.” 
Here's a brief video explaining this new production (fresh cast, I believe), premiering this coming Wednesday at The Granada Theater:
Although Philip Glass will not be appearing with The Philip Glass Ensemble for this event in Santa Barbara at The Granada Theater, (at the University of Santa Barbara) Michael Riesman, who has led over one hundred live performances of the score to the film since 1995, will be conducting.
For more information and tickets, please see HERE.

1 comment:

  1. I would like ask you if is possible buy the dvd with the movie and music by Philip Glass. I have the cd but I coudn't find the dvd. Thank you, Maurizio