Archive for February, 2014
C’EST MAGNIFIQUE: 300 YEARS OF FRENCH OPERA
Melody, beauty, colour – that’s French opera! As an enriching complement to Manitoba Opera’s first-ever production of Jules Massenet’s Werther, Don Anderson explores three centuries’ worth of French opera. In a course that overflows with gorgeous music – much of which may well present you with new and welcome discoveries – you’ll enjoy CD and DVD selections from more than 40 operas. They range from the Baroque splendours of Lully and Rameau, through the spectacular grand operas of Meyerbeer, Rossini and Spontini; the melodious, exotic works of Gounod, Massenet, Saint-Saëns and Delibes; the dreamy impressionist world of Debussy; and the cheeky comedies of Ravel and Poulenc.
Featured singers include such contemporary greats as Renée Fleming, Ben Heppner and Samuel Ramey, and “golden age” artists such as Joan Sutherland, Jussi Björling and Marilyn Horne. DVD highlights include more than an hour’s worth of Bizet’s Carmen, and a complete production of Ravel’s delightful one-act fairy tale, L’Enfant et les sortileges (The Child and the Magic Spells).
Six Wednesdays, March 22 to April 26, 2017, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
SMART THRILLERS: FIVE FILMS OF JOHN FRANKENHEIMER
For white-knuckle suspense matched with intelligent adult drama, the best films of director John Frankenheimer are hard to beat. After cutting his teeth in the golden age of live television dramas, he moved to the big screen and created a masterful series of thrilling movies, often on explosive, topical subjects. Don Anderson has chosen five of them for this absorbing course. He will introduce each one with extensive background information and trivia, and bonus interviews and documentaries will enhance your enjoyment.
The Manchurian Candidate (1962): Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Janet Leigh star in this gripping political thriller. Co-star Angela Lansbury gives a chilling, Oscar-nominated performance as Harvey’s mother.
Seven Days in May (1964): The American military looks to take over the government, in this tense, all-too-believable story. The exceptional cast includes Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Frederic March, Ava Gardner and Edmond O’Brien, who received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor for this performance.
The Train (1964): Frankenheimer re-teamed with Burt Lancaster for this pulse-quickening, fact-inspired story about the French Resistance’s attempt to stop the Nazis from stealing France’s art treasures during the final year of World War Two. Paul Scofield and Jeanne Moreau co-star.
Seconds (1966): Rock Hudson gives an outstanding dramatic performance in this harrowing, Twilight Zone-like tale of a middle-aged businessman’s desperate search for a new life.
Black Sunday (1977): Terrorists threaten an attack on the audience at the Super Bowl, in this electrifying, grandly scaled suspense drama starring Robert Shaw and Bruce Dern.
Please note: some of these films contain violence and/or coarse language.
Five Thursdays, Mar 30 – April 27, 2017
7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Savour some of the grandest music composed between 1600 and 1750, in this gloriously entertaining music appreciation course. You’ll hear a wide-ranging assortment of instrumental and vocal works that exemplify the German, Italian, French and English schools of the period: music by more than 20 composers, including Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Purcell, Corelli, Pachelbel, Telemann, Gabrieli, Pergolesi, Scarlatti, and many others. You’ll also learn about these composers’ lives, and delve into the artistic and social forces that shaped their era.
The superlative lineup of performers on CD and DVD includes singers Cecilia Bartoli and Karina Gauvin; orchestras such as Tafelmusik, Academy of Ancient Music, Musica Antiqua of Cologne, and Academy of St. Martin in the Fields; conductors Trevor Pinnock, Sir Simon Rattle, Christopher Hogwood, Sir Neville Marriner, Frans Brüggen, and Sir Charles Mackerras; piano and harpsichord soloists Glenn Gould, Angela Hewitt, Kenneth Gilbert and Igor Kipnis; violinist James Ehnes; trumpeter Maurice André; The Canadian Brass; and the choir known as The Sixteen.
Four Mondays, April 17 to May 8, 2017, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
STARRING JACK LEMMON
One of the most beloved and most versatile actors in screen history, Jack Lemmon created a gallery of unforgettable and totally believable characters. He could play anything and play it expertly, from the broadest comedy to the starkest tragedy. These five films showcase the full range of his extraordinary talent. Don Anderson will introduce each one with extensive background information and trivia. Bonus features, including a substantial interview with Lemmon himself, and tributes from his illustrious co-stars, will further enhance your enjoyment.
The Apartment (1960): Lemmon plays C.C. Baxter, a lower-echelon worker in a major insurance company who hopes to get ahead by lending his apartment to his bosses for their extra-marital rendezvous. Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray co-star in a film that won five of the 10 Oscars it was nominated for, including an unprecedented triple crown for Billy Wilder as producer, director and writer.
Days of Wine and Roses (1962): Alcoholism shatters the life of a young couple in this heart-rending drama that forcefully confirmed Lemmon’s ability to handle serious roles. Lee Remick co-stars in a film that received five Oscar nominations, including actor and actress.
The Odd Couple (1968): The course simply had to include one of Lemmon’s many teamings with his long-time comedy co-star, Walter Matthau. Here in Neil Simon’s Broadway smash, they play Felix and Oscar, friends who are total opposites in every way, who end up sharing Oscar’s ultra-messy apartment while the fussy Felix is undergoing a divorce.
The China Syndrome (1979): After a television crew unexpectedly films an accident at a nuclear power plant, a senior employee at the facility finds himself caught between his job and his conscience, in this highly suspenseful and thoughtful drama. Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas co-star in a film whose four Oscar nominations included actor, actress and original screenplay. Please note that this movie contains violence and coarse language.
Some Like It Hot (1959): Two 1920s musicians flee from gangsters by posing as members of an all-girl jazz orchestra, in this classic farce co-starring Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis. #1 on the American Film Institute’s list of America’s Funniest Movies, it earned Lemmon his first leading-role Oscar nomination (a rare event for a comedy).
Five Tuesdays, April 18 to May 16, 2017, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
FRED ZINNEMANN CLASSICS
Fred who? High Noon, From Here to Eternity Fred, that’s who! Immensely successful during his lengthy career, but largely neglected in recent years, director Fred Zinnemann created a superlative body of work that excels in powerful emotions, excellent acting, literate, mature scripts and meticulous production values. In short, he was a class act all the way, and this enormously entertaining course gives him the retrospective tribute he richly deserves. Don Anderson will enhance your enjoyment of the films with extensive background information, including absorbing interviews and numerous excerpts from Zinnemann’s autobiography.
The Search (1948): This deeply moving drama follows a Czech boy’s search for his mother in the rubble of post-second-world-war Germany. Eleven-year-old Ivan Jandl received a special outstanding juvenile performance Oscar for this film, and Montgomery Clift made his screen debut as a kindly American soldier who helps him. It brought Zinnemann the first of his seven nominations for the best director Oscar.
High Noon (1952): On his wedding day, the principled marshal of a small western town (Gary Cooper) must face a gang of vengeful outlaws without help from the people he protects, in this heart-pounding suspense classic. Co-starring Grace Kelly and Lloyd Bridges, it won four Oscars, including best actor for Cooper.
From Here to Eternity (1953): This searing drama focuses on a group of American soldiers, stationed in Hawaii, leading up to the Pearl Harbour attack. The stellar cast includes Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Frank Sinatra (supporting actor Oscar), and Donna Reed (supporting actress). It received 13 Oscar nominations and won eight, including picture and director.
A Man for All Seasons (1966): Sixteenth-century English statesman Sir Thomas More wrestles with his conscience as King Henry VIII pressures him to approve the king’s divorce. Paul Scofield’s towering lead performance won an Oscar, and the film received five additional Oscars including picture and director. The exceptional cast includes Wendy Hiller, Susanna York, Robert Shaw, John Hurt, Leo McKern and Orson Welles.
The Day of the Jackal (1973): Zinnemann’s gripping, semi-documentary-style suspense drama details the intricacies of a plot to assassinate French president Charles de Gaulle. Edward Fox stars as The Jackal, a resourceful and determined hit man.
Julia (1977): Based on renowned author Lillian Hellmann’s book of character sketches, this compelling drama follows her relationship with a childhood friend who draws her into a dangerous political mission to Europe on the brink of the Second World War. Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave head the cast. The film received 11 Oscar nominations, including picture and director, and it won for supporting actress (Redgrave), supporting actor (Jason Robards), and adapted screenplay.
Six Tuesdays, Oct 24 to Nov 28, 2017
1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
UNDER THE MIDNIGHT SUN:
A SCANDINAVIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC FESTIVAL
Come and enjoy a feast of some of the most colourful and melodic music in the world! In this enchanting survey of Scandinavian classics, Don Anderson takes you beyond the familiar works of Grieg and Sibelius (although they’re included, of course!) to mine a treasure chest of engaging, mostly folk-flavoured works from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland, spanning the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. Examples of authentic folk melodies will show you the roots of this music. Featured performers on CD and DVD include conductors Leonard Bernstein, Sir Simon Rattle, Neeme Järvi, Sir Colin Davis, Herbert von Karajan and Sir Thomas Beecham, pianist Emil Gilels, violinists Maxim Vengerov and Gil Shaham, singers Barbara Bonney and Anne Sofie von Otter, and percussion superstar Dame Evelyn Glennie.
Five Tuesdays, March 13 to April 10, 2018
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
GREAT BOOKS GREAT MOVIES 2
By popular demand, Don Anderson presents another collection of superlative screen adaptations of classic novels. The five books were written by revered authors from England, the USA, and France, and appeared over more than a century of time: 1831 to 1939. The films were released over a period of 40 years, 1939 to 1979. They received 31 Oscar nominations – four of them were nominated for best picture – and won 10 Academy Awards. Don will introduce each film with extensive background information, and absorbing interviews and documentaries will enhance your enjoyment.
Wuthering Heights (1939): The mist-shrouded moors of central England are the setting for this passionate romance, from Emily Brontë’s celebrated 1847 novel. The cast is headed by Laurence Olivier in his star-making role, and Merle Oberon in her finest performance. Eight Oscar nominations (including picture, director and actor) and one win.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939): In this greatest of all screen versions of French author Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel, the pathetic bell-ringer of Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral falls in love with a beautiful gypsy girl. Charles Laughton gives an unforgettable performance in the lead role, ably supported by Maureen O’Hara in her Hollywood debut. This lavishly produced and deeply moving film received Oscar nominations for music and sound.
The Grapes of Wrath (1940): This superlative adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1939 novel follows a family of migrant workers through the dust bowl years of the Great Depression. It received seven Oscar nominations and won for director (John Ford, the second of his four Academy Awards) and supporting actress (Jane Darwell). Henry Fonda heads the cast.
The Heiress (1949): Henry James’s 1880 novel Washington Square was the basis for this excellent drama set in New York high society. Olivia de Havilland took home an Oscar for her brilliant performance as a shy young woman who lives under the thumb of her cold-hearted father (Sir Ralph Richardson). Montgomery Clift co-stars as her suitor. Master director William Wyler’s film was nominated for eight Oscars and won four.
Tess (1979): Thomas Hardy’s 1891 novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles came to the screen in this gorgeously photographed and touching film. Nastassia Kinski, Peter Firth and Leigh Lawson head the cast, in the story of an innocent young country girl beset by the strict moral standards of her day. The film received six Oscar nominations and won for cinematography, art direction and costume design. Please note: this session will run approximately three hours and 30 minutes.
Five Tuesdays, April 17 to May 15, 2018
1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, except as noted
All these courses take place in the Community Classroom at McNally Robinson Booksellers, 1120 Grant Ave. To register, please call 204 475 0483, drop by the store, or log on to www.mcnallyrobinson.com and click on Community Classroom. Please note that contents, fees and dates are subject to change.
Tune in to CKUW, 95.9 FM, every Wednesday afternoon from 2 pm to 4 pm for Classical Kaleidoscope, presented by MusicNet, my fantastic new radio show! I’ll be presenting a wide variety of great music, from Baroque to contemporary, familiar and beloved works plus out-of-the-way gems I’m sure you will enjoy. I will almost always be playing complete works. To enrich your enjoyment, I will back up the music with plenty of good old-fashioned background information and anecdotes, gleaned from my 35-plus years of professional experience at advocating great music. I will also be focusing on Winnipeg’s rich array of live concerts, regularly previewing the music that will be performed at them. There will be ticket giveaways, visits from special guests and much much more!