Music: Movie Time at the Opera

Long before movies had sound tracks, people were putting opera onto film. Carmen, Manon Lescaut, Thaïs, Tosca—all went their voiceless way before the primitive cameras. Even Caruso waved his arms and moved his mouth while the audience tried to believe silence was as golden as the great Enrico's top tones. After World War II, the Italians went in for opera movies in a big way. Often bulky prima donnas and bel canto stars sang for the mikes while prettier people pantomimed for the cameras, pretending that they were doing the singing. It rarely worked,...

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