The son of a humble Italian immigrant, E. Noël Spinelli has dedicated most of his life to making music accessible to his blue-collar community of Lachine, Quebec. This short film offers a poignant emotional journey into his deep love of opera and Puccini, quietly revealing what music has given to Mr. Spinelli, and why he is so passionately committed to sharing its magical gifts.
This short documentary gives us insight into the singing prowess of renowned tenor Ben Heppner, one of Canada’s pre-eminent musical ambassadors. Revealing his intimate connection to the power of performance, the film plays with scale and layers of sound, revisiting the architectural and sonic spaces that Heppner’s voice has inhabited throughout his remarkable career—from country churches to the major opera houses of the world.
Produced by the National Film Board of Canada in co-operation with the National Arts Centre and the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation on the occasion of the 2016 Governor General's Performing Arts Awards.
This short documentary follows Manitoba's annual Musical Festival, profiling several of the young people whose talents made the festival a leading event in the Canada of the mid-20th century. Featuring boys' and girls' choirs, violin and piano solos, an excerpt from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, and songs by a soprano and a contralto, the film is an idyllic and melodic portrait the prairies of over half a century ago.
This 1959 feature documentary is a foray into Canada’s art milieu. What is it like to be a Canadian artist? Answering this central question are Teresa Stratas, winner of Metropolitan Opera auditions; acclaimed lyric tenor Léopold Simoneau and his talented wife, soprano Pierrette Alarie; the National Ballet Company of Canada’s artistic director, Celia Franca and leading male dancer, David Adams; as well as jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, whom we visit at 3 o'clock in the morning at Boston's Storyville Club. The film also includes interviews with radio and television actor John Drainie, Christopher Plummer and Jean Gascon, director of Montreal's Théâtre du Nouveau Monde.
This short documentary features Canadian contralto Maureen Forrester as she sings at the Festival Casals, a musical event founded by the great Spanish cellist and conductor Pablo Casals and sponsored annually by the Puerto Rican government. Part concert film, part tourism film, Festival in Puerto Rico offers viewers candid glimpses of mid-20th century Puerto Rico intercut with performance footage of Forrester and her husband, violinist-conductor Eugene Kash.
A short film featuring pianist Anton Kuerti. The virtuoso demonstrates the inner workings of a grand piano, pulling out his tool kit to make minute adjustments before a performance. Made in 2008, it commemorates Kuerti receiving the Governor General’s Performing Artist Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.
Bryan Adams is one of world’s most enduringly popular singer/songwriters. He is most at home in his Vancouver studio, surrounded by his collection of vintage microphones and guitars. Adams calls it “a very analog space in a very digital world.” In this short documentary, we witness an intimate rendition of his song “One World, One Flame” and hear him speak of his audience-centred approach to performance: “I want it to be fun, I want it to be real.”
One of the world’s leading pianists and foremost interpreters of Bach’s music, Angela Hewitt appears in recital and with major orchestras throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia. This short film gives us a glimpse of Hewitt’s creative process as she interprets a Bach fugue—transforming the famed composer’s notoriously mathematical work into a musical experience that approaches the spiritual.
Folk music icon Buffy Sainte-Marie became internationally renowned with her protest song "Universal Soldier." In this short documentary, she candidly discusses her hopes, creative vision and songwriting skills, as well as her role as an Aboriginal activist. Still a vibrant artist fifty years into her career, she keeps her eyes set on the future.
This feature documentary uses music to reveal the many faces of jazz, New Orleans style. Colourful and alive with music, the film captures the street life and traditions of this vibrant city and explores the roots of the music that springs from the soul of the African-American community.
Mohammed and Yulanda Faris are generous and devoted patrons of the arts. Through dramatic re-creation, this short documentary captures the spirit of Montreal in the 1950s, the early days of their relationship, and their passion for music and dance. If we all danced more, says Yulanda Faris, we would be happier people.
Produced by the NFB in co-operation with the National Arts Centre and the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation on the occasion of the 2010 Governor General's Performing Arts Awards.
Framed against archival stills from Brian Macdonald's considerable career, this short film is a testimony to the eclecticism and brilliance of Macdonald's creative vision. As a dancer, director, choreographer and teacher, Macdonald has worked with The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and The National Ballet of Canada, helping to shape the careers of many of the country's most celebrated dancers.