5 June 2008 | bkoganbing
A Truly International Medium
Grace Moore's last screen appearance was in the French production of one of her most famous roles, the title role in the Gustave Charpentier opera Louise. It was also her only appearance in a foreign language film.
I've often thought that opera is indeed a truly international medium, no matter what language it's in. Opera stars transcend all boundaries, cultures, and politics, none more so than Grace Moore in the Twenties, Thirties, and Forties; truly an international star. People like Joan Sutherland, Placido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti were the same in their day and today.
Moore pulled an entertainment hat trick, she was at the top in musical comedy, films, records, and the grand opera. We can include radio as well, she was an integral part of the radio's famous Bell Telephone Hour that later went to television. When she was killed in a plane crash in Copenhagen she was on a concert tour of the Scandinavian countries playing to sell out audiences.
Louise was a part she played often at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and other venues. It's the story of a young French seamstress falling in love with a struggling Bohemian artist in Paris at the turn of the last century, to the disapproval of her working class parents. Not exactly an original story idea, but the music and the singing is divine.
Her supporting cast includes French tenor Georges Thill who she appeared at the Metropolitan Opera with and Andre Pernet who plays the key role of Louise's father. The production is directed by Abel Gance and the cinematography is stunning.
Opera being a highly specialized and acquired taste, Louise as a film doesn't bear a rating. But opera lovers everywhere would be advised to see this if broadcast and acquire a DVD or VHS if available. It's the only record of one of opera's greatest stars in one of her best received roles.