L‘Opéra Imaginaire

Animated film-opera

Guest of the festival L‘Opéra Imaginaire (Imaginary Opera) is a series of animated musical films released in 1993, in which the most famous arias and scenes from the classical and romantic operas are screened. Each of the twelve fragments is as a separate animated film, which is introduced by the narrator (similar to Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti) who becomes a uniting element of different episodes.  “Imaginary opera” connects various animation techniques: stop motion animation, hand-drawn animation, puppet and clay animation and 3D animation.

12 animated arias:

PAGLIACCI (Canio’s aria “Vesti la giubba”/ “Put on the costume”)
Composer Ruggero Leoncavallo, performer Franco Corelli, director Ken Lidster.           
Canio is ready for the comic show somewhere in Southern Italy. Just before the show, the clown learns about his wife’s infidelity and expresses his grief by singing his aria. After that, he appears on stage with his broke heart and plays the role of the clown.

RIGOLETTO (Duke of Mantua’s aria “La donna è mobile” / “Woman is fickle”)
Composer Giuseppe Verdi, performer Nicolai Gedda, director Monique Renault.            
In the tavern, just before the tragic death of Gilda, the Duke of Mantua, not suspecting anything wrong, sings the famous aria about the fickleness of women behaviour “Woman is fickle”.

CARMEN (Chorus of street-boys “Avec la garde montante” / “With the guard on duty going”)
Composer Georges Bizet, performer French boys’ chorus “Les Petits Chanteurs à la Croix de Bois”, directors Pascal Roulin and Christophe Vallaux .
Don José and Lieutenant Zuniga arrive with the new guard. The street-boys, grinning and imitating him, sing “With the guard on duty going”.

THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO (Cherubino’s aria “Voi, che sapete che cosa è amor” / “You ladies who know what love is, is it what I’m suffering from?”)
Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performer Susanne Danco, director Pascal Roulin.
In the palace of the Count Almaviva, during the preparation for the weddings, Cherubino arrives, eager to be dressed up by Susanna. Susanna urges him to sing the song he wrote for the Countess Rosina.

MADAME BUTTERFLY (Cio-Cio San’s aria “Un bel dì, vedremo” / “One fine day”)
Composer Giacomo Puccini, performer Felicia Weathers, director Jonathan Hills.
At her home, in Nagasaki, Cio-Cio San is waiting for her American husband Lieutenant Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton to come back from overseas. While waiting, Madame Butterfly sings passionate aria.

THE PEARL FISHERS (Nadir and Zurga’s duet “Au fond du temple saint” / “In the depths of temple”)
Composer Georges Bizet, performers: Nicolai Gedda and Ernest Blanc, director Jimmy T. Murakami.
Nadia and Zurga meet in Ceylon and sing friendship duet. In it, they praise old friendship, which was once threatened in youth when they both fell in love with a priestess of Brahma name Leila.

THE MAGIC FLUTE (Pamina’s aria “Du also bist mein Braütigam?” / “This then is my Bridegroom”)
Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performer Lucia Popp, director Raimund Krumme.
Pamina, who is looking for faith and truth, begins to doubt Tamino’s love. She is overwhelmed by sufferings and decides to commit suicide in her moment of weakness. Holding a dagger in her hands she asks: “This then is my Bridegroom?”. The three boys see Pamina and restrain her. They take away her dagger, promising that she will see Tamino soon.

CINDERELLA (Sextet “Questo è un nodo avviluppato” / “This is a tangled knot”)
Composer Gioachino Rossini, performers: Giuletta Simionato, Paola Montarsolo, Dora Carra, Giovanni Rionanni and Miti Truccato Pace, director Stephen Palmer.
Angelica loses her silver bracelet, the one, which finally brings her to beloved Prince Ramiro. Next day, after the big feast in the palace, all the characters sing sextet, where Ramiro and Angelica meets each other in the end.

FAUST (Méphistophélès’s couplets “Le veau d’or est toujours debout!” / “Song of the Golden Calf”)
Composer Charles Gounod, performer Nicolai Ghiaurov,director Hilary Audus.
Marguerite’s brother Valentin is leaving for war with his friend Wagner and entrusts the care of his sister to his youthful friend Siébel who is Faust’s student. Méphistophélès appears, provides the crowd with wine, and sings a rousing, irreverent song about the Golden Calf.

LA TRAVIATA (Choir “Noi siamo zingarelle” / “We are youthful gypsies”)
Composer Giuseppe Verdi, performer Santa Cecilia Academy Chorus, director Guionne Leroy.
France, 1850. At the party, the Marquis tells Flora that Violetta and Alfredo have separated. Flora calls for the entertainers to perform for the guests.

LAKMÉ (Lakmé and Mallika duet “Dôme épais, le jasmin” / “The flower duet”)
Composer Léo Delibes, performers: Mady Mesplé and Danielle Millet, director Pascal Roulin.
In India of 19th century, British army officer falls in love with a Brahmin priest’s daughter Lakmé. She and her slave Mallika sing “The flower duet’ while preparing for a bathe in the saint river.

TOSCA (Cavaradossi’s aria “E lucevan le stelle” / “And the stars were shining”)
Composer Giacomo Puccini, performer Carlo Bergonzi, director Josè Abel Key.
Cavaradossi is waiting for his execution in prison… For the price of a ring (his last possession), Cavaradossi persuades the Jailer to deliver a note to Tosca, then starts writing a farewell letter (“E lucevan le stelle” – “And the stars were shining”). With the last line (“E non ho amato mai tanto la vita” – “And never have I loved life so much”), he bursts into tears.