Summer Sonata: Don’t miss these classics at the festival of opera films

  • Henna Rakheja, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 06, 2016 19:39 IST
Dame Joan Sutherland as Norma in a scene from Norma, 1981. The film will be screened on June 23 at India International Centre (Robert Ragsdale)

Operas and ballets that generally belong to the Western world have also found takers in the Capital. Live performances of these art forms are usually organised in the winter months but one can take delight of their cinematic formats in summer.

From adapting the Shakespearean drama — A Midsummer Night’s Dream to portraying the ups and downs in career of revolutionary ballet star Rudolf Nureyev, the narrative of the films, which will be screened at Summer Sonata, shows the different facets of the western art forms — opera and ballet.

A poster of Coppélia, which will be screened on June 10

“When I came back from Germany in 2005, I started sharing my DVDs of operas, ballets and concerts that I had collected on my trip,” says RP Jain, curator of the festival, who has single-handedly managed to screen the films from his collection, every summer since 2006. “But in 2012 and 2013 we could not screen any film since I had a surgery. I felt well enough to begin again in 2014, but we screened only four films — two operas and two ballets,” he adds.

A poster of the film The Abduction from the Seraglio, which will be screened on June 14

Soon the number of screenings increased and shaped up as a festival of opera and ballet films. It found its space in the cultural calendar of summer months, when the number of live performances of operas and ballets is usually nil. He says, “We now try to select works which have not been screened earlier. Also, I have tried to include lesser known works. For instance, operas such as Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma will be screened this June.”

A poster of the film, which will be screened on June 18

Other films which will be screened during the festival include Léo Delibes’ Coppélia (a comic ballet in two acts), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio (an opera Singspiel in three acts), La Bayadère (a ballet in four acts) and Patricia Foy’s Rudolf Nureyev (documentary on the life of ballet star Rudolf Nureyev).

A poster of the documentary, which will be screened on June 30

“The response has been very positive each year, sometimes with a full house,” says Jain, when asked about the interest of people in films of this genre. He adds that the audience has remained more or less constant over the years and “there are some regulars who are very grateful for an enjoyable evening in air-conditioned comfort in the auditorium!” Quite a smart way to make Delhiites hook on to something new!


WHAT: Summer Sonata – A Festival Of Opera And Ballet Films

WHERE: CD Deshmukh Auditorium, India International Centre, Lodhi Estate

WHEN: June 6 to 30


Nearest Metro Station: Jor Bagh on Yellow Line

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