Julianne Moore stars in “Bel Canto”| Photo by Kenneth Willardt

In his article about the upcoming movie version of Ann Patchett’s novel Bel Canto, Michael Cooper makes the interesting point that it isn’t often that opera is used un-ironically in film. An aria on the soundtrack often signals the arrival of something or someone really, really evil.

But in Bel Canto, it will be different, because opera and the beautiful voice of the main character Roxanne Coss are central to the plot. Julianne Moore stars as the diva held hostage by terrorists in an unnamed South American country. In preparing for the role, she received some expert insights from soprano Renée Fleming, to whose recordings Moore will be lip-synching. Fleming’s voice on the soundtrack is a “coming-full-circle” moment for Patchett because she says it was Renee’s voice that she had in her mind and ear as she was writing the character.

You can read more about Bel Canto, lip-synching, Julianne Moore’s first opera experience, and more here. Bel Canto comes out in theaters September 14, 2018.

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