The Merola Opera Program will join forces with the San Francisco Public Library Main Branch to launch a new film series entitled Merola Goes to the Movies. The premiere season will consist of five screenings of films that either present opera performances or involve opera in some significant way. The screening time for all films will be at 1 p.m., and all the dates will be on weekends. Each screening will be preceded by a short talk by a Merola Opera representative, who will give an insider’s look at the opera and provide background on the making of the film.
The program will begin this coming Sunday (September 15) with Franco Zeffirelli’s 1982 film of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata, with the principal roles sung by Teresa Stratas, Plácido Domingo, and Cornell MacNeil. The remaining events in the series will be as follows:
- Sunday, November 3: Zeffirelli’s 1986 film of Verdi’s Otello with Domingo, Katia Ricciarelli, and Justino Díaz
- Saturday, January 11: Sam Wood’s 1935 A Night at the Opera, featuring the Marx Brothers, Margaret Dumont, and Kitty Carlisle (singing), the first “opera-themed” film to be presented, guaranteed to change permanently any viewer’s thoughts about Verdi’s Il Trovatore
- Saturday, March 29: Ingmar Bergman’s 1975 film of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute (sung in Swedish with English subtitles) with Josef Köstlinger, Irma Urrila, Håkan Hagegård, and Birgit Nordin, a film whose off-stage images are as compelling as those of the opera itself (check out the score Sarastro is studying during the intermission)
- Saturday, May 24: the final film in this series has not yet been announced; information will be posted on the Merola Calendar Web page when it becomes available
All screenings will take place at 1 p.m. in the Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Public Library Main Branch. The main entrance is at 100 Larkin Street. Admission is free. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.