Tenor who sings (too briefly) in The Red Shoes (1948)?
February 28, 2014 12:44 PM   Subscribe

In the 1948 movie The Red Shoes, there is a scene (search YouTube for "Vicky Page is offerred her first lead role"; about 45 seconds into the clip) where Victoria Page ascends the stairs to Lermontov's villa. In the background is a view of the Mediterranean and the sound of an Italian tenor singing to orchestral accompaniment. Can anyone identify singer (and song)?
posted by RichardS to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
After assiduous googling, which I bet you have done as well, the best I can come up with is a note on the IMDB page that says: Aria (uncredited) Sung by Margherita Grandi. I think it's possible that extract is a soprano singing at the bottom of her range rather than a tenor. Maybe someone else will recognise the melody.

Brian Easdale was the composer, he won an Academy Award for the music: to quote from one of the reviews at IMDB "And Easdale's music is excellent: essentially a melange of the three great ballet composers of the first half of the 20th century - Stravinsky, Bartok and Ravel". I've no idea whether he wrote that aria though it does recall some kind of mixture of those last two. The film uses several pieces of uncredited popular classical music, listed with the aria under 'Soundtracks' on the IMDB page.
posted by glasseyes at 3:15 PM on February 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, and in support of that possibility, she began her career as a mezzo.
posted by glasseyes at 3:21 PM on February 28, 2014

After 65 years! I saw the movie when it first came out and was dazzled by it. Have seen it several times since, but was prompted again when visiting people who always have the TV on and the movie started to play. So I searched again for the singer of the magical aria. But I didn’t (and haven’t before) drilled down in imdB to Soundtrack. Thank you so much! Margherita (an Australian) was doing recordings with Beecham in ’48. I can imagine Easdale saying to Beecham "I need a tenor for a very brief aria." And Beecham's replying, “Maggie can do it."
posted by RichardS at 5:01 PM on February 28, 2014 [3 favorites]

Oh wow, do you think that's the right answer? Chuffed! (Have to say I'm not so sure myself - if you take off the 'solved' tick from the question more Mefites might chime in - I can't remember if there is another piece of music in the film which also might be described as 'aria'.)

It's such a fabulous film. I'm so jealous that you saw it when it came out! with the sensibility of that time, and the post-war optimism and appreciation of the lushness and newness it presented.

I've only ever seen it on telly. Anton Walbrook - such a dandy. That scene in the railway station at Cannes in his pin-striped suit and tortoiseshell sunglasses *sigh* I'm awfully shallow.
posted by glasseyes at 5:20 PM on February 28, 2014

"Shallow"? Like Isaac Mizrahi, who had to include a worshipping clip of Walbrook/Lermontov in "Unzipped"?
posted by RichardS at 1:50 PM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

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