Monday, April 18, 2011

This reviewer of the Minnesota Opera production of Bernard Herrmann's Wuthering Heights doesn't seem very fond of the sprechgesang technique. In the Pioneer Press:
It's a staging full of wonderfully imaginative ideas from director Eric Simonson and designers Neil Patel and Wendall K. Harrington. But you're not likely to come away wondering why this work hasn't been hailed as a modern masterpiece. (...)
Herrmann is a great writer for orchestra, but he rarely gives his best music to the singers. Instead, much of the exposition is delivered in recitative fashion, entire phrases remaining on one note, arias rarely taking wing.
If only the tunes were as evocative as their words. Instead, the most swoon-ready love songs are given to Cathy's supposedly stiff-upper-lipped husband, Edgar — and are sung splendidly by Eric Margiore.
Similarly, Adriana Zabala makes Heathcliff's neglected wife a compelling character in a gripping fourth-act aria. And bass Ben Wager brings resonance and some welcome wild-eyed abandon to Cathy's hard-drinking madman of a brother.
If you're wondering how the star-crossed Cathy and Heathcliff could have "Wuthering Heights" stolen out from under them by their spouses and siblings, you can blame it on Herrmann.
Sara Jakubiak and Lee Poulis bring voices of power and beauty to the roles, doing their best to draw our sympathies toward two characters who, when all is sung and done, aren't very likable. But the score never allows their love to touch a listener's heart. (Rob Hubbard)
This blogger who attended the dress rehearsal was more enthusiast:
The use of these scrims created an amazing effect, and really made the show, otherwise grim and bleak in its Brontë way, quite dazzling. Not to mention, the effects made the spooky parts exceptionally chilling.
I can't believe I've written all of this and I haven't even touched on the music. The music! Daniel Zillmann, the Communications Manager at the Minnesota Opera, explained the music best when he said that it's like a mix between Turner Classic Movies and the opera. Certainly it wasn't a sound that I could conjure before actually hearing the score, but once I heard it the explanation struck me as spot on. It really was something to see all of these unbelievably talented, and dedicated people bring to life the obsession of one man, a musical genius who never was able to see his project come to life. (Courtney Algeo)
Jane Eyre 2011 is still being reviewed:

The Daily Titan:
It’s easy to go wrong when adapting a classic book into a two-hour film for the big screen, but Jane Eyre is proof it is possible as long as the director stays true to the crucial elements of good storytelling, compelling characters, rich dialogue and balanced tension.
For anyone interested in Victorian-style classic time pieces, Jane Eyre is a delight to view on the big screen and a must see. (Flor Edwards)
WWLP 22 News:
 "Jane Eyre" is a timeless classic and this stirring production hits home with 3 stars. Take my advice, make a date with "Jane Eyre." (Sy Becker)
Women's Voice for Change:
From the stellar cast and fine-tuned screenplay to the flawless costumes, sets, sound and lighting, Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre is a deeply satisfying film, and one of the best I’ve seen so far this year. (Alexandra MacAaron)
In the same review we find this nice appraisal of the novel's merits and vigency:
This year, thousands of high school English classes will assign Jane Eyre (and tens of thousands of high school students will complain about it). But then, something magical will happen. Young women accustomed to the sarcastic chatty prose of the Gossip Girl series will get swept up in Brontë’s luxurious language. They will be enthralled by Jane’s story, her strength and determination. She is the thinking girl’s heroine, and they will see themselves in her. Because of Jane, generations of young women have been — and will continue to be — reassured that even if they are “poor, obscure, plain, and little,” they can still make a happy ending if they are true to themselves. (Alexandra MacAaron)
Nevertheless, we still think that not only young women can react this way to Charlotte Brontë's novel.

Rock'n Roll Ghost interviews Cary Fukunaga and Mia Wasikowska:
Cary Fukunaga: To get the film, the Bob Stevens’ version of the book, was definitely a challenge. I had thought about adapting it myself when I was waiting for Sin Nombre to go into production. When I was in the U.K. doing promotions for Sin Nombre I found out that BBC had a Jane Eyre project in theatrical slate. So I asked to read it and I liked what the screenwriter had done with it. So I met with the producer and the writer. I told them I liked their project. They told me they liked me.
indieWire comments on the movie's box office:
Jane Eyre” continues to play, though it seems like the picture has already peaked, currently at $6.6 million with smaller theater counts.
Nevertheless, it seems that the film was quite successful at the Northwest Filmfest:
The 18th annual Northwest Filmfest was a great success! We had nearly 4,000 patrons enjoy 17 diverse films from around the world — a very respectable turnout. People seem to like the two-Sunday format.
The top attendance hit was Jane Eyre, while Music From the Big House and Steam of Life also performed well, reflecting the specific local interest in both films. (The Chronicle Journal)
Dita 40's Blog complains about why Jane Eyre is not premiered in her town.

The film opens this weekend (April 21st) in Portugal and Porta-Livros celebrates the tie-in Portuguese edition of the novel.Conspiração das Letras gives away a copy of another Jane Eyre Portuguese edition.

On the blogosphere: Ryan The Movie Critic,Teri Parris Ford's Blog, StephanieVandrickReads, Cindy's Book Club, TV, Me and Potpourri, Maestroreviews, Desirous of Everything

The Yorkshire Post interviews Ben James-Hill:
If you were hosting a dinner party, which three other guests would you invite from your town and why?
Me? The host of a dinner party? Well, I’ll have to just imagine this one. I would invite Charlotte Brontë, Sir Alan Ayckbourn and Robert Palmer. That would be an interesting conversation of memories of Scarborough.
The Independent has an article about the difficulties in the treatment of morning sickness associated with pregnancy. The most extreme case of morning sickness, hypemeresis gravidarum, is mentioned in connection to Charlotte Brontë:
In some women hyperemesis gravidarum used to prove fatal. Charlotte Brontë died with pregnancy sickness, describing in her letters how she had "strained until my vomit was mixed with blood." (Jeremy Laurance)
The Guardian tells the story of Tasha Onwuemezi, one of the collateral damages of the tuition fees increase of the Cameron-Clegg UK government:
In the second interview, I quoted the introduction of Lolita because it's my favourite part of the novel and I like quoting things, and I linked the language used in Lolita to the grandiose language of Othello, which is my A-level text. Granted, I did confuse "Ode to a Nightingale" with "Ode on a Grecian Urn", but it wasn't as though I thought Charlotte Brontë wrote Hamlet or anything and I corrected myself and continued with my analysis of Romantic literature. I thought I did pretty well.
Kindle Author interviews the author Bonnie Blythe:
David Wisehart: What can you tell us about Claire's Not-So-Gothic Romance?
Bonnie Blythe: It's a light retelling of Jane Eyre through the eyes of Claire, who's something of a misfit.
Keighley News has a reminder of Catherine Bertola's exhibition at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, To Be Forever Known; nachtsichtgeräte reviews Jane Eyre 1944 (in German); So Many Books reviews Shirley by Charlotte (not Anne) Brontë; Flixchatter lists Heathcliff as one of their favorite period drama heroes; The QuickWitLitniks of Springfield-Greene County posts about the Classical Comics's Jane Eyre adaptation; It's the Arts and mainstdancer08 (on Youtube) review Charlotte Brontë's novel; Books of gold does the same with Wuthering Heights.

Finally Abigail's Ateliers posts her knowledgeable views on why - judging by the dresses worn - the so-called new Brontë portrait cannot be dated 1838. And for a chance to see a known Brontë portrait - that of Charlotte Brontë painted by Richmond - remember that it is on exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery until April 25th - quite a rare treat.

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1 comment:

  1. Aww, another Jane Eyre derivative ... For $0.99 (£0.86) on Kindle though ... and it's got 5 stars too ... Bodes well!