“Bel Canto” film, with soundtrack featuring Renée Fleming, source novel’s original inspiration

Posted on: September 11, 2018

“ ‘Bel Canto,’ an adaptation of Ann Patchett’s hugely successful 2001 novel of the same name, starring Julianne Moore as an American diva caught up in a hostage drama… is not exactly an opera film,” writes Michael Cooper in Sunday’s (9/9) New York Times. But the film, opening September 14, “uses music as character and catalyst…. Soprano Renée Fleming … recorded the arias by Dvořák and Puccini that Ms. Moore lip-syncs to in the film…. Ms. Patchett has said that while she was writing the novel and creating the character of Roxane Coss, the American diva at its center, she was inspired by listening to recordings of Ms. Fleming.… The beauty of that voice … is the key to understanding the obsession that drives the superfan played by Ken Watanabe…. Ms. Fleming said that she tends to think of opera in film as ‘something incredibly romantic,’ pointing to the role ‘La Bohème’ plays in ‘Moonstruck’ or ‘La Traviata’ in ‘Pretty Woman.’ But she agreed that classical music had been adopted by quite a few cinematic bad guys … Director Paul Weitz … said, ‘What I came to realize, was that the whole plot of the movie is essentially operatic.’ ”

Posted September 11, 2018