2019 / 2020 Season
The power of Musical and Classic Theatre from the World’s Great Stages.
Introduced by David Langlois
2019 / 2020 Season
Monday, September 23 at 7.30 pm – Amazing Grace
Saturday, October 19 at 2 pm – Madama Butterfly, Royal Opera
Saturday, November 16 at 2.00 pm – The Tempest, Stratford
Saturday, November 23 at 1.00 pm – The Nutcracker, Bolshoi Ballet
2020 dates to come later
January, La Boheme, Royal Opera
February, Giselle, Royal Ballet
March, Otello, Royal Opera
In 1972 a 29 year old, Aretha Franklin recorded a concert album. Warner Brother’s Music Services approached Sydney Pollack to direct a film of the concert. Filming took place over two nights at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, while Franklin recorded her Amazing Grace album. It went on to become the highest-selling gospel music album of all time. Since Pollack had not used clapperboards, it turned out to be impossible to sync the audio with the video. The project was halted, and the raw footage placed in a vault at Warner Brothers. In 2007, producer Alan Elliott purchased the material. Subsequently, sound editor/mixer Serge Perron successfully synchronized the sound with all the film footage and an 87 minute documentary was completed. After Franklin’s death in 2018, her family made an arrangement to release the film. It premiered at the Doc NYC on November 12, 2018, and was released worldwide on April 5, 2019.
Critical response: On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 99% based on 112 reviews. The website’s critical consensus reads, “Brilliantly capturing a remarkable performer near the peak of her prodigious power, Amazing Grace is a thrilling must-watch documentary for Aretha Franklin fans.” Odie Henderson of RogerEbert.com enthused, “Whether you’re religious or not, you owe it to yourself to see this movie if the chance arises. You’ll see how much love and feeling went into the construction of the resulting album.” The Los Angeles Times‘ Justin Chang wrote, “Aretha Franklin didn’t transcend the gospel or gospel music; as first her album and now this marvelous documentary remind us, she did more than most to fulfill its potential for truth and beauty, devotion and art.”
Why do we show opera? Because it is unique in the theatre arts: comedy, tragedy, pathos, life, love, death, loss, passion, joy and anger – all in a single art form that comes closest to expressing pure emotion. The combination of dramatic narrative, stagecraft and music, and especially the range and vulnerability of the human voice, is unparalleled by any other. Come and share with us this most wonderful of human talents. David Langlois