Opera Great Geraldine Farrar

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
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salus

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Opera Great Geraldine Farrar

PostFri Jul 09, 2010 5:57 pm

I think it was pretty interesting that knowing what diva's opera singers are that a major star would appear in SILENT FILMS. Was her recordings used in the films score or did Miss Farrar put out a new album of Carmen to be released when the film opened.
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Bob Birchard

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Re: Opera Great Geraldine Farrar

PostFri Jul 09, 2010 7:10 pm

salus wrote:I think it was pretty interesting that knowing what diva's opera singers are that a major star would appear in SILENT FILMS. Was her recordings used in the films score or did Miss Farrar put out a new album of Carmen to be released when the film opened.


Another reason to read my book, "Cecil B. DeMille's Hollwood." All the details of how Farrar came to work in pictures are there.
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greta de groat

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PostFri Jul 09, 2010 11:30 pm

And Gerry gives a great performance and went on to a quit successful career for several years. Mary Garden did a film as well but was nowhere near as successful. Lina Cavalieri did films in Europe that were imported over here. I believe one or parts of one exist but i haven't ever heard anyone comment on having seen it so i don't know how she came across on screen (other than the fact that she was a great beauty). But since she did several films she must have been reasonably successful.

Actually, stories that make good operas sometimes also make fine silent films. Stories with characters with strong emotions and clear, simple plots, are quite well adapted to both media. Carmen, La Boheme, Die Nibelungen, work well in either. A more stylized and complicated opera such as Die Rosenkavalier i found for me didn't work particularly well as as silent. Regarding the Shakespeare thread, I'd say the same for the Shakespeare plays with those characteristics--Romeo and Juliet and Otello work well as silent films and as operas, whereas a talkier and more intellectual play like Hamlet has interesting opera and silent adaptations but they are drastically different.

Regarding the music with the films, the Pauline Frederick version of La Tosca did have a score adapted from the opera and was played by orchestras in New York and San Francisco that i know of, and probably many other places as well. I don't know about the status, but the film is unfortunately lost. as is all but the last reel of the Italian version with Francesca Bertini made around the same time. Now that' a great silent film plot!

greta
Greta de Groat
Unsung Divas of the Silent Screen
http://www.stanford.edu/~gdegroat
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moviepas

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Geraldine Farrar

PostSat Jul 10, 2010 2:30 am

There was no way Farrar could make an ALBUM at that time. They didn't have them as such at that time, although operas & symphonies did come out as 12inch 78s in an album type cover but they were cumbersone and being 12inch were much easier to be broken than standard 8 or 10inch records.

I believe Mr Caruso made a film before 1920 for Jesse Lasky but might not have been released or completed. But he did not make a Vitaphone short in 1926 which Harry Warner's granddaughter Cassy says he did in her book. Caruso died in 1921. Leo Slezak(father of the suicided Walter Slezak) became a character actor in German films.

In sound films many made films in the early days of sound, the likes of Tauber, Schmidt, Novotna and so on but this is getting away from opera people in silents.
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Rodney

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PostSat Jul 10, 2010 4:29 am

In Rick Altman's book "Silent Film Sound," he documents the release of opera-based silent films as early as 1910-1912, distributed with piano transcriptions from the opera. What was discovered was that most movie theater pianists weren't up to the task of rehearsing and performing operatic music in sync with a film (especially when the film only ran a few days), and the experiment was largely abandoned.
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Harold Aherne

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Re: Geraldine Farrar

PostSat Jul 10, 2010 11:21 am

moviepas wrote:I believe Mr Caruso made a film before 1920 for Jesse Lasky but might not have been released or completed.


Actually he made two: My Cousin, released in November 1918, had another opera performer (Carolina White) as his leading lady. It survives and was released on DVD a few years ago; Amazon has it for a reasonable price. The other one was The Splendid Romance, scheduled for release in June 1919 but possibly never issued domestically. Ormi Hawley was his co-star in this one in what appears to have been her last film.

-Harold
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David Denton

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Re: Opera Great Geraldine Farrar

PostMon May 29, 2017 7:21 pm

Here is what is left of SPOSA NELLA MORTE! (1915) with Lina Cavalieri and Lucien Muratore

http://www.europeanfilmgateway.eu/detai ... cd0a181bb4" target="_blank
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2 Reel

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Re: Opera Great Geraldine Farrar

PostThu Jun 01, 2017 4:03 pm

I don't know if Geraldine Farrar ever made a multi-record release, but they were common in her era and produced much like a bound photo album, with each page a sleeve that contained one disc. One of the first multi-record releases was in 1903, when HMV in England made the first complete recording of an opera, Verdi's Ernani, on 40 single-sided discs.

I have quite a few early record "albums" in my 78 rpm collection. They're quite heavy. My husband uses them for barbells on rainy days when he can't get to a gym.
They call me "Dangerous Dal"
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Two Reels

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Re: Opera Great Geraldine Farrar

PostFri Jun 23, 2017 8:16 pm

Farrar never recorded a complete opera. The Victor Talking Machine Company - who she recorded for - was not normally in the business of releasing complete operas (or instrumental works) in albums when she was active, their focus was mainly on singles. But there is about 30 minutes of Gounod's Faust that features Farrar and Caruso, recorded by Victor in 1910.

Though there are some early examples, albums sets of complete works were less common generally in the first couple decades of the 20th Century, in the acoustical recording era. European firms are responsible for recording most of the sets from that period.

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