1987 – Opera

1987 – Opera

1987 - Opera by Argento

Marco – Ian Charleson
Inspector Alan Santini – Urbano Barberini
Mira – Daria Nicolodi
Giulia – Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni
Marion – Antonella Vitale
Stefano – William McNamara
Signora Albertini – Barbara Cupisti
Director and Producer – Dario Argento
Screenwriter – Dario Argento, Franco Ferrini
Director of Photography – Ronnie Taylor
Set Designer – Davide Bassan

Set in the present day in and around an Italian opera house (in fact the Teatro Regio in Parma), this extremely free adaptation follows the fortunes of young soprano understudy Betty. She is given her big chance on the main stage following an accident that has befallen the imperious diva. The work is Verdi’s Macbeth, and the production a radical updating by a film director new to opera. Betty is a great success, and it seems that she will follow in the footsteps of her mother, now dead, who was a famous opera singer. But tragedy ensues when a masked figure breaks into her apartment, ties her up and tapes pins to her eyelids: she is forced to watch the gory murder of her boyfriend, filmed in Argento’s trademark style of unnaturally rich colour and disturbingly detailed sound-effects. Later, the same fate meets the feisty costume supervisor, with Betty again an unwilling witness. Police Inspector Santini sends her home and promises a police guard, but Betty and her agent Mira hesitate to open the door to the armed man who presents himself at the apartment; sure enough, he shoots Mira through the keyhole. Betty flees and seeks protection from the director of the production, Marco, who has a plan to identify the masked killer. It succeeds in revealing Inspector Santini as the villain, but he still manages to escape capture, taking Betty with him. In an empty room in the bowels of the theatre we learn that he was the lover of Betty’s mother, and that she made him murder innocent victims for her visual and sexual gratification before he turned on her. He sets the room on fire, apparently meaning to burn both himself and Betty to death, but Betty escapes. The epilogue sees Betty and Marco recovering together in the mountains—at least until the TV news informs them that Santini did not die in the fire as was first thought…



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