Posts added in October 2008
“I have an image of myself lying awake, staring at the darkness. I kept trying to sleep and sleep would not come and time would not pass. I knew that Luke and Matt were awake too but for some reason I was afraid to talk to them, so the night went on for ever.”
The film itself is something else. It begins as a moody piece, trembling with tension, and for three quarters of the time it is running I was completely spell-bound by the images and concepts it throws up. With the aid of Scott Thomas we are given a portrait of a woman without any usable inner animation, someone whose soul has been allowed to wither and die. An alienated being who mirrors many of our own individual horrors and suspicions about the true nature of being and identity.
Siri – the woman with the smile – is living in Theastuene for the summer. She thinks the house is haunted. She hasn’t seen a ghost but talks mysteriously about a presence. ‘Something disturbing.’ She wakes in the night convinced someone is weeping close by. But when she turns on the light there is nothing. She lies awake in the darkness and the sound of weeping is simultaneously near and far off. She can’t hear anything at all, but enfolded in the silence of the night is something on the verge of tears.
“I cannot tarry: I knew a wench married in an afternoon as she went to the garden for parsley to stuff a rabbit; and so may you, sir: and so, adieu, sir.”
Apart from the beauty of the tender, elegiac melodies, especially those in harmony between the two leads, I Capuleti e i Montecchi is interesting for its immersion in the bel canto singing style for which it is known. The piece requires a great deal from the singers, and they respond exquisitely with Bellini’s simple yet elegant and emotionally expressive lines of melody. There are more than enough moments in this production where you just want to lean back in your seat and close your eyes, give yourself up to the magic of these voices.