We just finished watching “Karajan, Or Beauty As I See It,” a film by
Robert Dornhelm, made for the centennial of Herbert von Karajan’s
birth in 1908.
This is a wonderful 92-minute documentary, produced in an attempt
to illuminate his life and art. It includes numerous short interviews
with Christa Ludwig, Gundula Janowitz, Simon Rattle, and Seiji Ozawa,
along with Karajan’s widow. Of particular interest and value to me
were the numerous clips of Karajan in rehearsals, not only with
orchestras but with singers, improving their movement on stage
in operatic productions. Scenes from his domestic life with friends
and family were also depicted.
As an added bonus, about 53 minutes of performance footage is
available in the “catalog” option. These excerpts include the entire
final scene from “Das Rheingold,” shot on a sound stage, the overture
from “The Light Cavalry” by Suppe, the last movement of the
Rachmaninov “Second Piano Concerto,” and the third movement of
Tchaikovsky’s “Fourth Symphony,” just to name a few.
This is an excellent DVD.