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Opera (2006) - Expressing the Unspoken


  • article: Expressing the Unspoken
  • author(s): Jack Sullivan
  • journal: Opera (01/Dec/2006)
  • issue: volume 57, issue 12, pages 1426-1432
  • journal ISSN: 0030-3526
  • publisher: OPERA, DSB
  • keywords: Accompanists, American cinema, British cinema, Composers, Feature films, Film (International), Film (Productions), Film Directors, Film Music, Film directors, Film music, Bernard Herrmann, Identity, Imagery, Music and Other Literary/Performing/Visual Arts, Narrative style, Narrative techniques, Opera, Opera Singers, Orchestras, Silent films, John Williams (Composer), Alfred Hitchcock



The films of Alfred Hitchcock are discussed with a focus on their operatic elements. The director used imagery of singers, accompanists, and orchestras during the silent era, and it is noted that with the advent of sound, directors could invoke the operatic technique of using music to "echo" dialogue and "subtly comment" on the action. Hitchcock used operatic devices to unlock erotic, angelic, or demonic energies. In his films, music is an inextricable part of human identity. Hitchcock's use of music and opera in his films is further examined, and several of his pictures are discussed. The work of composers such as Bernard Herrmann and John Williams in Hitchcock's cinema is also noted.