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In the Shadow of the Stars (1991)

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, this film is a hilarious and affectionate look at the path to stardom inside the competitive world of opera.
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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William S. Jones ...
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This charming documentary focuses not on the opera divas, but on the cast of background singers that are essential to creating the grand spectacle of the San Francisco Opera. The background singers, or choristers, play all of the supernumerary soldiers, senators and peasants while providing musical support to the star singers who stand in the spotlight. The struggles, joys and jealousies of these background players are rendered in heartening detail as they seek to rise through the ranks. Written by Jwelch5742

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independent film | See All (1) »

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17 October 1991 (Australia)  »

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Excerpt: Khovanshchina
By Modest Mussorgsky
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Well-edited, beautifully filmed --
11 January 2000 | by (Fort Scott, KS USA) – See all my reviews

As an aspiring opera singer myself and somewhat familiar with San Francisco Opera, I was interested to see how this documentary would play. I was amazed at how well edited this film is. The stories of the singers "blend" nicely, interweaving in such a way that you never lose track of who's who. You actually start to care about these people. It is truly the story of the **chorus**, and as such, no credits are given to the individual singers whose stories were told so beautifully.

This is a film I watch again and again, especially when I need a "boost." The scenes from the actual performances are wonderful (although I found at least one error in the identification of one of the scenes). This is a must-see for anyone with an affinity for the world of opera.


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