A filmed version of Guiseppe Verdi's opera. It's about a love affair between beautiful Violetta Valery (Teresa Stratas) and Alfredo Germont (Placido Domingo). Their love for each other is torn apart by his father--but she still loves him. It all leads to a tragic end.
I saw this in a theatre back in 1982. They tried to play it like an opera. When I walked in the screen was covered by a red curtain (back in those days some of the older theaters still had curtains). As the lights went down the curtain parted and the film began. When the film ended, the curtains pulled back together and the lights came up. My audience applauded even after the lights were up. It gave the feeling of being at a live opera. That can't be recreated at your home but this film is still well worth seeing.
Director Franco Zeffirelli wisely did not film the opera as it is staged. He opened it up--this was set up for a film. Sequences take place outside and the inside sets are way too elaborate for an actual opera.
The costumes are beautiful and the sets are just stunning--full of color and light. Every moment of this picture is filled with beautiful imagery. It matches perfectly with the singing and the music which are just incredible. There's even a show-stopping matador dance half-way through! I've never seen the opera but I've heard this is very faithful and Stratas and Domingo have beautiful voices and also can act! The only negative here is that Domingo is way too old for his role...but that can be forgiven whenever he sings.
This was actually a sizable hit back in 1982. The same team got together a few years later and filmed "Othello". Surprisingly that was TERRIBLE and is a textbook example of how NOT to do an opera! But this one is just great and a must-see. I give it a 10.
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