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Sunday 5th February – 1.00 pm


Herz’s film Der Fliegende Holländer: ein film nach Wagner was made for DEFA, East Germany’s state film company in 1964. Herz had worked with Walter Felsenstein, champion of realist music theatre, at Berlin’s Komische Oper, and it was there that he staged his first production of Der Fliegende Holländer. The success of this and subsequent productions in Leipzig and Moscow, encouraged Herz to contemplate making a film of the opera. He decided, however, not simply to record a stage production, but to create a proper film using the complete range of cinematic devices available to him. Actors rather than singers were seen on screen, miming to the sound track. Thanks to the excellent synchronization, this worked well. The music was pre-recorded by the famous Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the chorus of the Leipzig opera under the direction of Rolf Reuter, together with an excellent cast of East German singers. Four-channel stereophonic sound was used in the recording, possibly for the first time in Europe. The advantage, of course, of using pre-recorded sound was the freedom this allowed in terms of actor movement, camera placement and editing. Despite its fame as the first more or less complete Wagner opera on film, it is only recently that this ground-breaking black and white film was transferred to DVD.

The film was acquired from a German film library by Graham Bruce who will provide an introduction to the film, and will also lead a discussion at the end of the screening.

Graham Bruce retired some years ago as Head of Media Studies in the School of Media and Journalism at Queensland University of Technology. He has an MA and PhD from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. He is the author of Bernard Herrmann: Film Music and Narrative, and “Alma Brasileira: Music in the Films of Glauber Rocha”, in Brazilian Cinema. From the mid-seventies, he has made seven visits to Bayreuth beginning with the premiere of the Chéreau Ring in 1976 and has so far clocked up 32 Ring performances throughout the world. He is particularly interested in stage production, something fostered by his participation in a theatrical group producing musicals in the late fifties and sixties.

He is currently the president of the Wagner Society in Queensland.

Please note no DVD before the meeting and an early start to accommodate the film, talk and discussion

1.0 PM

Airconditioned comfort of Goethe-Institut, 90 Ocean St, cnr Jersey Rd Woollahra

Followed by Afternoon Tea

All welcome - $20 for members, $25 for guests and $10 for students









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