Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Franco Zeffirelli Enters The Twilight, Starting With A Book

Zeffirelli at the Metropolitan Opera (1966)
"Right on time to jog these memories, a coffee-table book devoted to the director has been published. Franco Zeffirelli: Complete Works is to ordinary books what Franco Zeffirelli productions are to ordinary productions. It's massively unwieldy, deliriously garish. It's also gorgeous and fascinating. The book's frontispiece is the end of Mr. Zeffirelli's Met production of Don Giovanni, in which the characters, framed by a set of classically receding prosceniums, face an upstage backdrop of clouds seen after a storm. It is spare, muted, lovely, the anti-'Zeffirelli.' But turning the page, you're confronted with the Zeffirelli-est: his 2006 La Scala Aida, its colors saturated and lurid, the gigantic set dwarfing the singer. The book keeps throwing you between these two extremes and opens up
entire decades of his career that have been largely forgotten. His sheer productivity and variety are dizzying: He made 10 productions in 1964, ranging from a lovingly detailed, freshly rethought Renaissance Falstaff to a cool, geometric version of Arthur Miller's After the Fall." [Source]

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