Finding Eleazar (2004)
1h 18min · Documentary · 1 May 2004
Pulling back the curtain of world-class opera, "Finding Eleazar" is an intimate portrait of renowned tenor NEIL SHICOFF as he prepares for the role of a lifetime. The film offers rare access to studio recordings, rehearsal rooms, and tense late-night creative sessions as Shicoff confronts the complex role of Eléazar in the French opera "La Juive" ("The Jewess"). Written by Fromental Halevy in 1835, the opera is being revived today for the first time since the Nazis banned it in 1936 for its timeless message about intolerance and fanaticism. The role transforms Shicoff as he moves from starring in a music video of the opera's famous "Rachel" aria, directed by film icon SIDNEY LUMET, to a live performance at the Vienna State Opera. Shicoff is forced to face his sown religion, his personal angst, his mortality. He becomes the character and Eleazar becomes Shicoff as he translates his "nervosity" into a message of compassion that reaches far beyond himself.
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