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Tony Palmer's Film About Andre Previn - The Kindness of Strangers

 
Tony Palmer's Film About Andre Previn - The Kindness of Strangers -Biography Movie
ID: TPDVD153 (EAN: 604388727704)  | 1 DVD
LABEL:
Tony Palmer
Subcollection:
Biography Movie
Composers:
PREVIN, Andre
Interprets:
FINCK, David (bass) | FLEMING, Renée (soprano / soprano) | FUTRAL, Elizabeth (soprano) | GILFRY, Rodney (baritone) | GRIFFEY, Anthony Dean | PALMER, Tony | PREVIN, Andre (piano) | TE KANAWA, Kiri (soprano)
Ensembles:
NHK Symphony Orchestra | Ray Trio Brown | San Francisco Opera Orchestra | The Emerson Quartet | WDR Sinfonieorchester
Conductors:
PREVIN, Andre
Other info:

Format: Classical, Color, DVD, NTSC
Language: English
Opera excerpts sung in English and German; dialog in English and German with English subtitles.
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
Screen (Picture) Format: 16:9
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Tony Palmer Films
DVD Release Date: September 15, 2009
Run Time: 118 minutes


Conductor-composer-pianist Andre Previn has been a noteworthy presence in the music world for five decades. This fine documentary, directed by Tony Palmer, tells Previn's remarkable story. Chronicling his rise from a dispossessed Berlin refugee to an Academy Award-winning composer of film scores (Gigi, Porgy And Bess) and conductor of two world-renowned orchestras, The Kindness Of Strangers, is a fascinating musical portrait.

“André Previn at 80! It scarcely seems credible. This is the man who won 4 Oscars almost 50 years ago, and still maintains a full conducting, playing and composing schedule, each discipline of which would exhaust a man half his age. And he really is a phenomenal pianist, a conductor of profound insights, and a composer of considerable tonal originality. I once asked him how many songs he had written. After much hesitation, he told me he couldn’t really remember. And that was not modesty; he just had no idea. In fact, there are hundreds, in a sense culminating in his much underestimated opera, A Streetcar Named Desire, which is how we met.

This film was made during the preparations, rehearsals and first performances of that opera in San Francisco. Two anecdotes illustrate for me the extraordinary musician I had the honour to work with. I knew of course that he was a jazz pianist whom even Oscar Peterson held in awe, so I was determined to film him playing jazz. He refused. “I really haven’t played jazz in public for years”, he told me. Then by chance I discovered that he had been invited to play at bass player Ray Brown’s 70th birthday celebrations at the Blue Note Club in New York. I pleaded with Previn to allow me to film this. He refused. So, of course, I hid away in the Blue Note Club and, thanks to the wonders of digital cameras, no extra lights were required, so I was more-or-less invisible. After the first of the two shows, I went backstage to say hello. As always, he greeted me with the utmost courtesy and said: “not bad, eh, for an out-of-practice old timer?” (His playing and improvisation had of course been breathtaking). “Pity you didn’t film it….”

Well, um……. He laughed and said: “hope you got it in focus.”

So, on the occasion of Previn’s 80th birthday, here is the newly re-mastered original film by way of a small tribute. It was, and is, a privilege to know him and to acknowledge his greatness as a musician and his very special qualities as man.”
Tony Palmer


Performance Credits
Renée Fleming, soprano - (Films)(Interview)(Music)
Rodney Gilfry, baritone - (Films)
Anthony Dean Griffey, tenor - (Films)(Music)
Elizabeth Futral, soprano - (Films)

San Francisco Opera Orchestra
Kiri Te Kanawa, soprano
The Emerson Quartet
David Finck, bass
Ray Trio Brown
NHK Symphony Orchestra
The WDR Symphony Orchestra

Technical Credits
Tony Palmer - Director, Editor
Michela Antonello - Producer
Mike Bluett - Producer

More details: Performer(s):
Dialog: André Previn, Natalie Cole, Tennessee Williams (archival interviews), cast and crew of the opera A streetcar named desire: Renée Fleming (Blanche Du Bois); Rodney Gilfry (Stanley Kowalski); Lotfi Mansouri (San Francisco Opera, general director), Philip Littell (librettist); Colin Graham (director); Michael Yeargan (designer); Sean Cullen (technical assistant); Deborah Sussell (dialect coach); Larry Klein (assistant technical director); Gennifer Green (costume supervisor); sung: Kiri Te Kanawa (Marietta); Renée Fleming (Blanche Du Bois); Rodney Gilfry (Stanley Kowalski); performed: André Previn (piano); David Finck (bass); the Emerson Quartet; the Ray Brown Trio; NHK Symphony Orchestra, WDR Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, André Previn, conductor.
David Finck played Gershwin Variations ; Kiri Te Kanawa sang Marietta's aria from Die Tote Stadt by Erich Korngold with the NHK Symphony Orchestra ; Ray Brown and Grady Tate played from the Blue Note Club ; the WDR Symphony Orchestra played from The Mother Goose Suite by Maurice Ravel ; the Emerson Quartet played from Piano Quintet op. 34 by Johannes Brahms ; A Streetcar Named Desire directed by Colin Graham ; cast: Renee Fleming, Elizabeth Futral, Rodney Gilfry, Anthony Dean Griffey; comissioned by San Francisco Opera ; general director, Lotfi Mansouri.
Program
 
Scene Index 
PREVIN, Andre (b. 1929) 
The Kindness of Strangers  
1. "We Haven't Heard About Him for Some Time..."5:44 
2. "I Can Smell the Sea Air" - Renée Fleming3:09 
3. Gershwin At Tanglewood; Childhood5:52 
4. Hollywood3:45 
5. On the Road to Japan With Natalie Cole1:52 
6. Where Is Home? Kiri Te Kanawa7:21 
7. Ray Brown & The Blue Note Club3:32 
8. 'Streetcar' and First Rehearsals6:27 
9. Conductor's Masterclass Daniel Harding7:20 
10. 'Mother Goose' in Germany1:31 
11. 'Streetcar' Sets & Problems5:04 
12. The Emerson Quartet6:26 
13. New Orleans; Colin Graham, Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando & 'Streetcar'2:18 
14. "Some People..." - Renée Fleming5:35 
15. First Orchestra Rehearsal4:24 
16. Costumes, Scenery, Kowalski & The South9:26 
17. Renée Fleming As Actress3:44 
18. Let's Make An Opera7:22 
19. Orchestra in the Pit & Squeaky Clean5:09 
20. First Night & Mayor Willy Brown5:36 
21. Blanche DuBois & Stella4:09 
22. The Audience1:23 
23. Tennessee Williams - "We All Devour Each Other, In Our Fashion."10:46 

Review:
 

Andre Previn has enjoyed an inarguably remarkable career, rising from humble beginnings as a German refugee to become one of the world's best respected composers and orchestral directors. Previn has won Academy awards for his film scores, served as conductor for the London Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and recorded a series of well-received albums as a jazz pianist. In 1998, Previn expanded his horizons to include opera as he wrote the score for an operatic adaptation of Tennessee Williams' classic drama A Streetcar Named Desire, and this documentary offers a look at Previn's remarkable career as he prepares for the world premier of his opera.
˜ Mark Deming, Rovi All Movie Guide


 

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