Thursday, July 9, 2015

Angela Gheorghiu Makes "House Of Cards" Debut In Opera Scene

Heard But Not Seen: Angela Gheorghiu's voice
makes an appearance in House of Cards.
(Photo: Gabriel Hennessey/EMI)
The Netflix series House of Cards could be an opera without music. The leading couple, Claire (Robin Wright) and Francis "Frank" Underwood (Kevin Spacey), have been described as Lady Macbeth and Iago. For three seasons, this duo has made drama fly around a fictionalized version of Washington, D.C., on the streaming hit show. But it was in Season 2, Chapter 26, "Hail to the Chief," that we got an operatic injection. We see Frank attending a concert version of Madama Butterfly. Filmed at Patricia and Arthur Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric in Baltimore, the scene captures a soprano (played by soprano Annie Gill) in profile singing "Un bel dì vedremo" from Act 2 of the Puccini opera. The track playing is the voice of Angela Gheorghiu. Next we see feuding villains Frank and Raymond Tusk (Gerald McRaney) have a face-to-face meeting in the basement of the opera house. During their conversation the love duet "Bimba dagli occhi pieni di malìa" from Act 1 can be heard faintly in the background (decidedly NOT Gheorghiu this time). As the two are wrapping up their non-productive negotiations, Tusk says, "When they put you in that box, barely bigger than a coffin, remember how beautiful the music was tonight." Frank shoots back, "Puccini's such a downer. I prefer something more optimistic." In Puccini's masterpiece, Cio-Cio San asks Pinkerton if it's true that in America they catch butterflies and pin them to boards. He says yes, so they don't fly away. The U.S. Navy Lieutenant has complete dominance over the 15-year old Japanese girl.  Is it possible that Raymond feels "pinned" and helpless under the power of Frank during this episode, knowing he must submit to his destiny? Read more about the episode here. Watch a music video of Angela Gheorghiu singing "Un bel dì vedremo," as well as three other classical bits of music used in the three seasons of House of Cards, after the jump. [Source, Source]
Raymond Tusk receives his invitation to a "Madame" Butterfly from Frank Underwood

Annie Gill lip synching Puccini's "Un bel dì vedremo" from Madama Butterfly

Frank gets called out of the performance for his meeting with Raymond

Underground negotiations between Frank and Raymond as Puccini plays above in the theater

Frank holds his opera program that displays a butterfly on the cover

In Season 1, Chapter 1, Frank and Claire attend the symphony. The music heard is the Presto from the "Summer" movement of Vivaldi's Four Seasons:
In Season 1, Chapter 1, during an inaugural ball features Frank Underwood asking Catherine Durant (Jayne Atkinson) to dance. The music they hit the dance floor to is "Waltz No. 2" by Shostakovich:

In Season 1, Chapter 8, with the old library set to get demolished, the first great idea from the Citadel’s barbershop boys is to sneak into it after hours. An oddly emotional moment amid their boozy chaos, and Underwood wordlessly prompts them into a rendition of “Shenandoah” complete with the chilling, echo-y acoustics:

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