[lit-ideas] Re: After watching Bel Canto

  • From: Lawrence Helm <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: adriano paolo shaul gershom palma <palmaadriano@xxxxxxxxx>, lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 23 Nov 2020 18:45:05 -0800

I read one more of her novels: /Patron Saint of Liars. /This one seemed a bit Kafkaesque.  Patchett writes well and tells a good story in my opinion.  This one, her first novel, was nominated for the Best First Novel of a Novelist prize.  It was also made into a movie-for-TV movie.

I haven't seen the /Bel Canto /movie; so I can't comment upon its idiocy, but as to the story itself, it was based upon the "Japanese Embassy Hostage Crisis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_embassy_hostage_crisis

Patchett announces very early in Bel Canto that all the terrorists will be killed.  She wrote it in I think 2001 and the Japanese Embassy Hostage Crisis occurred in something like 1997-98.  All of the terrorists were killed, but only one hostage was killed and Patchett stayed true to that.  The retelling of the hostage crisis wouldn't have been worth reading for those who read the news stories, but after she introduced the prima donna, it became much more than that.  Could a superb soprano mesmerize a mixed group of hostages and terrorists?  Her terrorists are fairly inept, but the hostages are also mesmerized.  Perhaps the reader would need to have been under the spell of such a soprano in order to appreciate that possibility -- at least to the point of being willing to suspend disbelief.   A long time ago I was that mesmerized by Maria Callas, especially her treatment of the Bellini operas.

After reading three of Patchett's novels, the only discomfort I have  is with her endings.  They, all three, seem weak at the end.


On 11/23/2020 5:15 PM, adriano paolo shaul gershom palma wrote:

I had the same reaction though I saw the film on a computer (cinemas in the sense of movie theatres here are locked)
even with a real voice of a real singer I sound the movie idiotic beyond belief, up to the very existence of christopher lambert, the highlander of scoland...

Quatsch wird gelöscht, ohne gelesen zu werden

真実 пора

Kerem jojjenek maskor es kulonosen masho

הִשְׁתַּדֵּל‎ הִזְדַּקֵּן‎

palma,  a paolo shaul םֹשׁ ְרֵגּ‎

On Thu, Nov 19, 2020 at 7:00 PM carolkir <carolkir@xxxxxxxxx <mailto:carolkir@xxxxxxxxx>> wrote:

    Re: opera/bel canto
    Despite having a lifelong affinity for and association with
    opera--I worked in promotions for a number of opera companies in
    the US and U K--I somehow managed to dislike the film version of
    Patchett's novel even more than the written one. Astounding...

    Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S10e, an AT&T 5G Evolution capable

    -------- Original message --------
    From: Lawrence Helm <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Date: 11/19/20 7:52 AM (GMT-08:00)
    To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
    Subject: [lit-ideas] After finishing Bel Canto

    Knowing that Adriano is reading Bel Canto, I don't intend to say
    anything that might spoil it for him, but I will observe that I
    read several reviews afterwards, and all that I read were
    favorable until I got to the Amazon reviews.  Some of those were
    very negative without being specific.  I wondered if the
    negativity had to do with an unfamiliarity with opera.  I am not
    an opera buff to the extent that Katsumi Hosokawa (of the novle)
    is, but I have gone through periods when I listened to nothing
    else and so recognized all the pieces described as being sung by
    Roxane Coss.  On one occasion I stopped reading to play a
    particular aria and tried to imagine which soprano might have been
    Patchett's model.  I found it was a friend of Patchett's but
    perhaps not a big opera star.

    Bel Canto was published in 2001, and then in 2018 a movie was
    made.  Renee Fleming was apparently considered for the role, but
    agreed with the decision to use Julienne Moore -- with Fleming
    doing her singing for her.


Other related posts: