Sunset Blvd. Mimics Music from an Opera by Which Composer?

Many people think that the music from Sunset Blvd. was inspired by an opera. However, the truth is that the composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, was inspired by a film.

Introduction

The movie “Sunset Boulevard” is layered with references to grand opera, from the name of its protagonist, Norma Desmond, to the famous aria “Giorgio, Giorgio” that she sings in her car. Even the film’s score contains operatic influences. But which opera composer is most responsible for shaping “Sunset Boulevard”?

The Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard is a 1950 American film noir directed and co-written by Billy Wilder, and produced and co-written by Charles Brackett. It was named after the boulevard that runs through Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, California.

The film stars William Holden as Joe Gillis, an unsuccessful screenwriter, and Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, a former silent film star who draws him into her fantasy world where she lives with her butler, Max von Mayerling (Erich von Stroheim). Many former silent film actors make cameo appearances, including H. B. Warner, Buster Keaton and Anna Q. Nilsson.

Deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress in 1989, Sunset Boulevard was included in the first group of films selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. It was ranked No. 12 in Sight & Sound’s greatest films poll of critics in 2012 and No. 15 in the critics’ poll conducted by The Village Voice in 2006.

The Opera

Sunset Boulevard is a classic 1950 film noir directed by Billy Wilder. The film tells the story of a faded film star, Norma Desmond, who lives in isolation in her lavish Hollywood estate. One day, she meets a struggling screenwriter, Joe Gillis, and employs him as her boy toy and companion. Joe quickly realizes that Norma is delusional and obsessed with making a comeback to the big screen. The film ends tragically with Norma descending into madness and killing Joe.

While the film is primarily set in Los Angeles, it also contains several homages to the European city of Vienna. One of these homages is the use of music from the opera Der Rosenkavalier by Austrian composer Richard Strauss. In the scene where Norma first meets Joe, she is playing the opera on her gramophone and the music continues to play in the background throughout their ensuing conversation. This use of classical music helps to create an atmosphere of elegance and sophistication, which contrasts sharply with the seedy underside of Hollywood that is also present in the film.

Der Rosenkavalier is a comedic opera that was first performed in 1911. It tells the story of an aging woman who falls in love with a much younger man. The opera was immensely popular during its time and its popularity has continued to grow in recent years. It is now considered one of Strauss’s most important works.

The Composer

Sunset Blvd. is a film noir released in 1950, and one of the most famous examples of the genre. The movie is full of sinister characters, plot twists, and a femme fatale who seduces an unsuspecting man and destroys his life.

One of the most interesting aspects of Sunset Blvd. is its use of music. The film’sscore was composed by Hungarian composer Lipót Szentpál, and it draws heavily from Giuseppe Verdi’s operas. In particular, the music during the film’s opening sequence is very similar to Verdi’s La Traviata.

This use of operatic music in a film noir setting gives Sunset Blvd. a unique atmosphere that enhances the sinister tone of the movie. It’s just one more element that makes this classic film noir worth watching again and again.

Conclusion

Considering all of the facts, it can be said that Sunset Boulevard does, in fact, mimic music from an opera by the composer Richard Wagner. The film noir classic uses various musical pieces and themes from Wagner’s “Ring” cycle throughout, most notably in its opening and closing scenes. This usage of classical music helps to set the tone of the film and create an atmosphere of grandeur and tragedy.

Keyword: Sunset Blvd. Mimics Music from an Opera by Which Composer?

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