Ruth Leon recommends…The Kindness of Strangers – Andre Previn

Ruth Leon recommends…The Kindness of Strangers – Andre Previn

Ruth Leon recommends

norman lebrecht

May 25, 2022

The Kindness of Strangers – Andre Previn

Click here for tickets : subsciption TV

There was such a strong, positive reaction from readers when I recommended Tony Palmer’s film about Margot Fonteyn a couple of weeks ago tht I thought you might like to see another Tony Palmer documentary, this one about Andre Previn, who died in 2019  aged 90. The film’s title is, of course, a quotation from Tennessee Williams’ play, A Streetcar Named Desire, which Previn adapted as an opera in 1998.

From Berlin refugee to multi-Oscar-winning film score composer, from great jazz pianist to chief conductor of both the London Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras, through five marriages including Mia Farrow and last wife Anne-Sophie Mutter (whom he married too late for inclusion in this film), with an honorary knighthood for his services to British music, his story is extraordinary. Andre Previn’s remarkable career reached a climax in September 1998 with the premiere of his first opera, A Streetcar Named Desire. He also conducted the production at the San Francisco Opera, with Renee Fleming as Blanche.
This film tells the story of the making of the opera, based on Tennessee Williams’s controversial stage play, and follows the backstage trials and tribulations from first rehearsals through to opening night. Previn talks candidly about the experience and relates it to his international life and career.

​Andre Previn stood centre stage in the world of music for fifty years. Tony Palmer’s ninety-minute documentary, filmed in America, Japan, Germany, Austria and England, tells both why and how.

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  • Concertgebouw79 says:

    I recommend all the LP Warner has reissued in 180g concerning Previn and the LSO. There are marvelous! But I’am frustrated against Decca who didn”t reissued in LP his Prokofiev concertos cycle with Ashkenazy. if they read me…

  • Patrick says:

    Previn also conducted it with the LSO and Fleming at the Barbican.

  • M McAlpine says:

    It’s OK but gets a bit tedious with all the backstage stuff. Previn was an interesting character and I wish a bit more time had been spent on his life rather than the production.

  • Anthony Sanderson says:

    Previn’s recording of “A Streetcar Named Desire” with the San Fransisco Opera on DG is still available from Amazon UK. I think it is a fine work. Well worth a listen.

    Ashkenazy’s Prokofiev concerto cycle with Previn and the LSO is also available on Amazon in the UK.

    Previn’s Piano Concerto, written for Ashkenazy, is a great piece and ought to be brought back into the repertoire. It is included in the DG compendium “André Previn – A Celebration”.

  • William Osborne says:

    The documentary is currently on Youtube.

  • William Osborne says:

    At one point in the film, a person notes that they spent almost $100,000 on a stage turntable for the Previn production that they ended up not using. A small loss compared to the 45 ton stage machine for the Met’s recent failed Ring production.

    Our outdated concepts of opera are not only extravagant, they are often extravagantly wasteful. One questions if there could not be a better use of resources, both financial and human, for newer, more relevant forms of classical music theater. We see how costly a lack of genuine creativity can be.

  • Peter Feltham says:

    Andre’s original name,the name he had at birth was in fact Andrew Preview,and not Andre Previn.In the words of Michael Cane ” Not a lot of people know that “, admittedly a minor point,but let’s get it right.