"Sgombra è la sacra selva" from Norma (V. Bellini)

Bel canto in the Hudson River Valley

"Svegliatevi nel core" from Giulio Cesare (G.F. Handel)

Handel by way of Brooklyn

About Aria Films

Opera has a reputation problem in the United States in the 21st century: It’s associated with another time and another place. Its history seems forever intertwined with classicism and outdated Gilded Age grandeur.

People who love the genre know that there’s more to it than that: There is deeply compelling storytelling, heightened by powerful music that transcends the eras in which its works were written.  It is a living art form – one in which composers and musicians of all stripes (in the US as much as anywhere else) tell stories of the human experience and our relationships with one another.

I use film as a medium to create short, vibrant operatic scenes and present these works to modern audiences in a format that is recognizable and relatable. Working closely with a director and cinematographer, we determine how to create an engaging scene and overcome the numerous technical challenges of filming a musical performance. Our goal is to capture high-quality live performances of opera arias in a way that visually conveys their essential meaning.

Some of these scenes are anachronistic adaptations or updates that focus on delivering the core dramatic value of the musical moment, regardless of the period in which they were originally visualized.  Some are traditional interpretations, which use the format of film to draw the viewer closer to the dramatic action than would be possible in a theater.

I have learned a lot - and had a great time - creating these "videos" for "Svegliatevi nel core" from Handel's Giulio Cesare and "Sgombra e la sacra selva" from Bellini’s Norma. These short films were made on shoestring budgets with much of our team donating their services. In the spirit of live operatic performance, all audio is recorded live in a single take.

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