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Doing Women's Film HistoryReframing Cinemas, Past and Future$
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Julia Knight and Christine Gledhill

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039683

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039683.001.0001

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Barbara Willis Sweete

Barbara Willis Sweete

Queen of HD Transmissions

Chapter:
(p.244) Chapter 17 Barbara Willis Sweete
Source:
Doing Women's Film History
Author(s):

Kay Armatage

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252039683.003.0019

This chapter investigates the complexity of Barbara Willis Sweete's creative orchestration of multiple personnel and technical operations in HD transmissions of live opera, with particular emphasis on how the input of composer, stage director, and performers are re-mediated through her technical expertise and cohering cinematic aesthetic. Sweete, one of the two principal directors of the Metropolitan Opera Live in high-definition (HD) live transmissions, has a varied media background. She brings to her HD transmissions a carefully calibrated practice that attends not only to music, staging, and performance but also to visual narrativity and what she calls visual architecture. This chapter explores how that practice engages with the intermedial nature of the live HD broadcast of opera. It argues that Sweete's visual practice places her at the center of this new cultural form—an intermedial hybrid—which can be viewed as currently in its “transitional” period, much as cinema “transitioned” in the 1910s.

Keywords:   visual narrativity, Barbara Willis Sweete, HD transmissions, high-definition, cinema, Metropolitan Opera Live, staging, performance, visual architecture, opera

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