A couple of special program notes: we’re postponing Thursday’s scheduled “Verdi and the Silent Film” program and replacing it with the 1982 film version of La Traviata starring Plácido Domingo. And on Saturday we’ll be joined by filmmakers Alex Steyermark and Lavinia Jones Wright as they talk about their documentary The 78 Project.
Thursday, November 6 (7:30 p.m.)
La Traviata (Universal Classics, 1982)
Legendary tenor Plácido Domingo and world famous soprano Teresa Stratas star in director Franco Zeffirelli’s lushly cinematic version of Verdi’s beloved opera La Traviata, a story of doomed love in 1840s Paris. Oscar nominated for Best Art Direction and Best Costumes, the extraordinary score is performed by the Metropolitan Opera orchestra. In his review in the New York Times, Vincent Canby called the film a “triumph” and “dazzling” and wrote La Traviata benefits from Mr. Zeffirelli’s talents as a designer as much as from his gifts as a director. The physical production is lush without being fussy. Nor is it ever overwhelming. This possibly is because at key moments we are always aware of details that, however realistic, remind us that what we are witnessing is not life but a grand theatrical experience. It’s not to be missed.”
Friday, November 7 (7:30 p.m.)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (RKO, 1939)
Charles Laughton in a haunting and unforgettable performance plays the misshapen bell-ringer Quasimodo who rescues a gypsy girl (Maureen O’Hara), falsely accused of witchcraft and murder. William Dieterle directed this moving adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel. The film was praised for its massive production design of 15th-century Paris, Alfred Newman’s rousing score, beautiful camerawork, and outstanding performances which also include Sir Cedric Hardwicke and Edmond O’Brien in his film debut.
Saturday, November 8 (7:30 p.m.)
The 78 Project: Documenting Historic Sound in the Contemporary World
Since August 2011, Alex Steyermark and Lavinia Jones Wright, The 78 Project’s creators, have been traveling across the United States, recording contemporary musicians on a 1930s Presto disc recorder, and filming their journey for an ongoing web series and a recently completed feature film. The filmmakers will introduce the film and answer questions about the project and their experiences.
For more information on our programs, please visit the web site at www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.