I Just Fell In Love With This Short Film About Opera

At the beginning of the month, Opéra national de Paris released a promotional video by Bret Easton Ellis, a sharp and visceral writer best known for his novel American Psycho. Angela Natividad wrote a brilliant overview of the project for AdWeek that provides a good bit of insight from Ellis alongside her own sharp observations.

It’s probably too easy to compare “Figaro” to American Psycho. But the desperation and emotional instability that laced Patrick Bateman’s excesses can be vividly felt here, too. In another director’s hands, it could easily have been a gratuitous Gossip Girl party scene about the wasteful play of the bored rich (a category into which the opera often falls).

What’s also beautiful about the video is the freedom Ellis was reportedly afforded. It apparently provided an opportunity to focus on the sorts of creative storytelling technics we recently examined as opposed to one more high profile project that is nothing more than the same old ham-handed “great art” offering wrapped in top shelf production values.

This turned into one of those videos I simply kept watching over and over again throughout the day because there’s so much to geek out on. To that end, how cool is it that Ellis shot the whole thing in what looks an awful lot like 2.76:1 Ultra Panavision 70 (but I would love to know for certain).

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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