|Rene Pape as Sarastro (left)|
On Sunday, June 9th the movie opened at about 150 Emerging Pictures theaters across the U.S. and will have limited release moving forward. Unfortunately, we couldn't find a theater within 100 miles of either America's movie capital Hollywood or opera crazed San Francisco. The closest that we found to New York City was 57 miles away in Toms River, New Jersey. For individual theaters and show times go to: www.emergingpictures.com. You can purchase your own copy of the DVD by clicking HERE. We'd like to think that a great director like Branagh would get broader distribution, which would surely attract new audiences to opera. You can request a showing at a theater near you by visiting this link.
We enjoyed the movie which features a libretto by the great actor Stephen Fry, which he updated to the eve on World War I. Barihunk readers will be delighted to know that in a brilliant stroke of dream casting, Rene Pape has been cast as Sarastro. In the Branagh/Fry version Sarastro is a man in charge of a field hospital, not a high priest, and his ultimate wish is world peace, not simply the triumph of good over evil. He is also Pamina's father, as in the Ingmar Bergman adaptation. Another similarity to the Bergman film is that Sarastro desperately tries to save the Queen's life, who appears to be his estranged wife.
|Benjamin Jay Davis as Papageno (right)|
The critical roles of Tamino and Pamina are played by the rising tenor sensation Joseph Kaiser and soprano Amy Carson. The movie kicks off when Tamino sets off on a perilous journey in pursuit of love, light and peace in a world afflicted by darkness, death and destruction. An eerie quiet descends over a landscape still untouched by conflict as Tamino waits anxiously with his fellow recruits for the command to go into battle. What ensues is an extravagant musical adventure in which the blossoming love between Pamina and Tamino may help determine the fate of a nation and the destiny of millions.