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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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Uncredited cast:
William S. Jones ...
Himself (uncredited)


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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17 October 1991 (Australia)  »

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Excerpt: The Barber of Seville
By Gioachino Rossini
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User Reviews

Nice Documentary If You're Interested in the Subject
17 May 2012 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

In the Shadow of the Stars (1991)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Oscar-winning documentary covering the performers who are often overlooked when people go to the opera. "In the shadow of the stars" is basically referring to the people performing their jobs, hoping for their big breaks while not getting that much attention in their current positions. There's no question that this is a pretty interesting documentary but I think the people are going to be most effected by it are those actual opera fans or those who are in the same position as the people here and can connect with them. I think the best thing that the film has going for it is that it actually makes you familiar with some of the lesser known people who work. I thought it was fascinating hearing from people who have been waiting years for their big break and we get to hear the daily drama that goes on. This could be rehearsals where they're not working out as well as they hoped or it could be in their personal lives where the stress is simply making things bad at home. Throughout the picture we're introduced to several people and all of them discuss their careers and lives. Some of the stories get repeated to the point where you feel as if you're hearing it over and over but for the most part the film keeps you drawn in and entertained. While I personally wouldn't have given it an Oscar, there's still no question that it will be enjoyed by those interested in the subject.

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