The Tales of Hoffmann
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3 items from 2012

Lisa Della Casa obituary

11 December 2012 1:06 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Swiss soprano renowned for her beauty and singing of Strauss

When the Swiss soprano Lisa Della Casa, who has died aged 93, made her Covent Garden debut in the title role of Richard Strauss's Arabella on the Bavarian State Opera's visit to London in 1953, she won all hearts with the beauty of her singing and of her appearance. This role became her trademark, and when the Royal Opera decided to stage its own production of the work in 1965, Della Casa was, of course, the Arabella, with Georg Solti in the pit.

The producer was Rudolf Hartmann, who had done much to launch Della Casa's career on an international level. That career had begun in 1941 in the Swiss town of Solothurn-Biel, where she made her debut in the title role of Madama Butterfly. She joined the Zurich Opera House in 1943, appearing as the First Boy in The Magic Flute, later ascending »

- Alan Blyth

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Watch a Rare Clip of Francis Ford Coppola and Michael Powell Touring Zoetrope Studios

7 November 2012 12:40 PM, PST | | See recent news »

Francis Ford Coppola has fond memories of seeing Michael Powell’s The Tales of Hoffmann with his brother August. "As you can imagine, I’d never seen this type of thing. Whenever I think of my brother, some part of me thinks of The Tales of Hoffmann." When Coppola settled into a filmmaking career during the 1970s, he — along with other directors on the rise, such as Martin Scorsese — praised the stunning work of Powell and his moviemaking partner Emeric Pressburger (who dubbed themselves the Archers). They revived an interest in the duo, rallying for home video releases and more throughout the years.   Although Powell — who did the majority of the directing — has now been established as a premiere filmmaking talent, his career...

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- Alison Nastasi

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Christopher Challis

10 June 2012 4:06 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Creative cinematographer and a key member of the Powell-Pressburger movie production team

Although the cinematographer Christopher Challis, who has died aged 93, was an essential member of the Archers production company of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, he joined them as director of photography at the time of their decline. However, he worked on more of the great British writing-directing team's films than any other cinematographer. These eccentric, extravagant, intelligent and witty fantasies went against the British realist tradition, allowing more scope for a creative cinematographer such as Challis. The sensuous use of Technicolor and flamboyant sets and designs made them closer to the MGM world of Vincente Minnelli and of Stanley Donen, who used Challis on six of his films.

Perhaps Challis's finest achievement was on Powell and Pressburger's The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) which, as he explained, had "no optical effects or tricks. It was all edited in »

- Ronald Bergan

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