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. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2009) Opera
Directed by Dario Argento
Written by Dario Argento Franco Ferrini
Starring Cristina Marsillach Ian Charleson Urbano Barberini Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni
Music by Brian Eno
, Claudio Simonetti
Cinematography Ronnie Taylor Editing by Franco Fraticelli
Distributed by Orion Pictures
(US VHS) Anchor Bay Entertainment
(1st US DVD Release) Blue Underground
(2nd US DVD Release) Release date(s)
1987 Running time 107 min Country Italy Language English Budget $8,000,000 (estimated)
Opera is a 1987 Italian "giallo" horror film written and directed by Dario Argento. It stars Cristina Marsillach, Urbano Barberini, and Ian Charleson in his final feature film role. Cinematography is done by Ronnie Taylor while Brian Eno and Claudio Simonetti composed the film's score. The film was originally released in the USA under the title Terror at the Opera. The film has gained an underground cult following and is considered by many to be the last of Argento's masterpiece horror films. Opera has received high praise from many critics and was included in the book 100 Greatest Horror Films You've Never Seen.
 Plot synopsis
Betty, a young opera singer, gets her big chance when the previous star of a production of Verdi's Macbeth is run over by a car. Convinced the opera is bad luck she accepts, and becomes the target (in Argento's unmistakable style) of a psychopath - a man she has been dreaming of since childhood. The vicious assailant stalks Betty, capturing her by tying her up and taping pins to her eyelids - so she is forced to watch as he violently murders the people around her. Who is this sadistic killer and why is he targeting young Betty?
- Vanessa Redgrave was attached to star as the opera singer whose car accident sets in motion the plot of the film, but dropped out shortly before production began, over the issue of the actress's salary. To compensate, Argento opted to film the character's scenes from a first-person camera point of view.
- Orion, the American distributor of the film, had agreed to release the film theatrically but when they saw the final cut of the film, they demanded that Argento remove the film's epilogue in the Swiss countryside (where the killer makes one last attempt to kill Betty). Argento refused and in response, Orion refused to release the film to theaters, opting to release it direct-to-video instead.
- Many mishaps on set, including the death of one of the actors, led director Dario Argento to believe that the "Macbeth curse" also struck during the making of this film.
- Originally, Columbia Pictures intended to release the film theatrically in Germany in 1988 but after the FSK (Official German Censorship) demanded to cut out almost 25 minutes, mostly violence (among others the two scenes with Betty wearing the needles), it was released straight to VHS, even though a theatrical release had already been announced.
- The character of Marco, the horror director turned opera director, was based on Dario Argento himself.
- According to star Urbano Barberini, it would take hours for everyone to re-capture the crows after they were released in the opera house for filming. Around 140 crows were used, but only 60 sum were ever retrieved. The others apparently escaped from the opera house during filming.
- The idea of the pins-under-the-eyes torture device came from a joke of Argento's. Argento said it would annoy him when people would look away during the scary scenes in his films. He would jokingly suggest taping pins under people’s eyes so they couldn't look away from the film. It would later materialize on the screen for this film.
- There has been controversy about the film's aspect ratio since it was shot in the Super 35 process and released both in 2.35:1 (in the US, Korea, and the UK) and 1.85:1 (in Italy) on DVD with the general conclusion being that 2,35:1 was the ratio intended by Dario Argento since he had the film shown that way on various festivals and obviously chose to use Super 35 himself for this film.
- "White Dakeness",
"From the Beginning"
by Brian Eno and Roger Eno By Arrangement with Opal Ltd, London
by Claudio Simonetti By Arrangement with BMG Ariola-Walkman SRL
- "Opera Theme",
by Bill Wyman and Terry Taylor By Arrangement with Ripple Music Ltd.
- "Knights of the Night",
by The Group Steel Grave By Arrangement with Franton Music/Walkman SRL
by The Group Norden Light By Arrangement with Sonet
- "Lady Macbeth ("Vieni t'afretti")
from opera "Macbeth" Composed by Giuseppe Verdi Performed by Maria Callas By Arrangement with Fonit Cetra
from "Norma" Composed by Vincenzo Bellini Performed by Maria Callas By Arrangement with Fonit Cetra
- "Amami Alfredo",
from "La Traviata" Composed by Giuseppe Verdi Performed by Maria Callas By Arrangement with Fonit Cetra
from "Madama Butterfly" Composed by Giacomo Puccini Performed by Mirella Freni By Arrangement with PolyGram (as Poligram)
(excerpt) Composed by Giuseppe Verdi Performed by Elizabeth Norberg-Schulz (as Elisabetta Norberg Schulz) soprano, Paola Leolini Soprano, Andrea Piccinni (as Andrea Piccini) Tenor, Michele Pertusi Baritone, with "Arturo Toscanini" Symphonic Orchestra of Emilia and Romagna Recorded at the Elite Studio of Sermide (MN)