famous stateroom scene, but more interesting is to me is this one, where impossible capers of all kinds are introduced into a performance of "Trovatore," unsettling the well-heeled audience and the musicians alike. I must confess, though, that I never really settled into enjoying this example of the genre of slapstick comedy/MGM musical. Probably this says more about me than the film; I was unable to switch off whatever trained listening had me reacting to the introduction of operatic fragments as though they were supposed to illustrate the plot. No: a fragment of "Vesti la giubba" is sung in high spirits (!) and the "Miserere" from Trovatore, after apparently concluding the opera (!) was encored as a triumphant love duet at the end. That was painful. Also, important and persistent questions--the nature of 'high' and 'low' culture/art, the relation of profit to the creation of opera, reputation to talent in the forging of careers--kept being introduced into the plot and then just left there to be dealt with by means of, well, slapstick comedy.
E la nave va." Now, this, I loved! Not only does it include musical extracts in an illustrative way, it sometimes gives them alternate texts (unfortunately for my inadequate Italian, they weren't subtitled, but I still found it fascinating.) The "normal" proceedings of the film often erupt into choruses at significant moments. And not only opera, but dreamy piano pieces, lively folk music, and even complex water-glass playing (!) contribute to the aural landscape of the film. Extravagant and enigmatic characters inhabit the artificial, luxurious, threatened environment of a cruise ship, bound in 1914 to scatter the ashes of a diva off a Greek island. Moral and immoral decisions are made. Love blossoms and love is betrayed. And it's all gorgeous, and a great deal of fun, as well as poignant.