Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ennio Morricone In Roma

There are some downsides to being in Rome during the swelter of summer.  But there are many upsides too.  One of them is that, in summer-time, the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma puts on outdoor concerts, ballets, and operas in the Terme di Caracalla.

The "Baths of Caracalla" were not the biggest public baths in ancient Rome, but they were the most opulent.  Now, a vast set of ruins remain, which I still need to visit during daylight.  I can say, however, that the ruins present a stunning and majestic setting for a night-time concert.  That's where a few friends and I watched 84-year-old Ennio Morricone conduct an orchestra on Thursday night that played 2 hours of some of his greatest hits.  The music and the venue were marvelous.

For those of you who don't recognize his name, Ennio Morricone is to Italian films what John Williams is to U.S. films.  And Morricone has had a huge mark on the American cinema as well.  He scored movies such as The Untouchables, Bugsy, and In The Line Of Fire.  Tarantino has also reused Morricone tunes in both the Kill Bills, Inglorious Bastards, and Django Unchained.

The orchestra on Thursday night played several of Morricone's greatest movie theme songs.  They played some of the scores from the Sergio Leone "Spaghetti Westerns" that starred Clint Eastwood (The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, and Once Upon a Time In The West), Cinema Paradiso, and The Mission.  My only disappointment was that they did not do my favorite Morricone song of all-time: the main theme from the Sergio Leone classic Once Upon a Time in America.

Despite that, the concert was magical.  I left in awe over how one composer could have created so many excellent songs with such disparate styles.  The songs from the Spaghetti Westerns are so creative and novel and just different, while the songs from movies like Cinema Paradiso and The Mission are beautiful and moving in a more classical sense.  Wow.  

The iPhone does not do so well at night when there are bright lights.  My apologies.

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