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Thread: Future of opera

  1. #1
    Senior Member Grosse Fugue's Avatar
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    Default Future of opera

    I hope this article is of interest.http://operagasm.com/2010/03/combati...80%99s-future/

    What does everyone think?

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    Senior Member some guy's Avatar
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    Very cool article, Grosse. Not a word one about recycling old operas by dead composers with modern sets and costuming.

    This is about new operas. Very cool.

    Interesting that opera was for so long the popular medium, so much so that when "classical music" was first used to describe concert music, opera was not considered "classical." Too popular by far!!

    That it should have worked its way back into the spotlight as the snooty genre par excellence is just another one of those mysteries that keep, well, mystifying people!

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    Junior Member PoliteNewYorker's Avatar
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    I think the biggest challenge here is getting people familiar and comfortable with the operatic voice. That's why things like broadway musicals are so popular and have largely supplanted opera in the minds of the uninitiated today. They hear pop singers endlessly, so they've got it in their heads that "good singing" has to be in that vein. This article is very good, I hope she is successful.

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    Senior Member Edward Elgar's Avatar
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    Composers need to keep writing opera. Harrison Birtwistle has written some interesting ones, but those are designed for intellectuals. Opera must speak to people directly. Shostakovich, for me, is the best opera composer of the 20th century. Realism is the key to keeping opera alive.
    When all the paint has been dried, when all the stone has been carved, music shall remain, and we shall work with what remains.

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    Senior Member some guy's Avatar
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    Interesting distinction there: intellectuals and people.*

    And here I have been pretty sure for 58 years that I was a person.

    And "realism." Seems plain. Real things. Problem is, if you try to pin that word down to a meaning everyone will agree on, you will find that it can't be done.

    *not sure if there's another distinction hiding in there: you speak indirectly to intellectuals and directly to people. Possibly. But it might be that you speak directly to intellectuals, too, you just say different things. Ya gotta wonder, though. How many of those who enjoy classical music could be described as other than intellectual...? I know that at least the folks I know, whether people or intellectuals, who don't like classical invariably describe it (Birtwistle AND Shostakovich) as elitist.

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    I don't see why do you ask for future of opera as it would be separated from future of music in general. Did the history opera stop at some point, do we have stagnation or something? In second half of XXth century composers like Penderecki wrote modern operas that are not maybe specially popular but not inferior to their famous works.

    The problem is that stereotypical opera is about fat italians walking around and singing some joyfull HOOOOOOUUUUOUUUOOUUU DI DI DA DOOO up and down the scale and most of people are not aware that operatic genre is not archaic and didin't end at early XIXth century.

    So all those people can't imagine that there exists more actual kind of opera, it would be enough to show them Strauss Salome to make them open their eyes soooo wide, not to mention later stuff.

    And it is serious problem. Not the opera itself, it has no problem with finding it's place in modern music. The problem is with people and the fact that it is quite difficult to approach XXth century and modern opera.

    It may prevent contemporary composers from writing operas. OH NOES, CAPTAIN, SAVE US

    Hrympfs... am I off of the topic?

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    Reports of the imminent death of opera have been greatly exaggerated. Many prominent contemporary composers have been writing operas in our time, and some of these have had considerable success with audiences.
    For example; Philip Glass,John Adams, William Bolcom, Dominick Argenta, Ned Rorem, Tobias Picker,
    Charles Wuorinen in America, Europeans Hans Werner Henze, Kaaia Saariaho, Poul Ruders,
    Einojuhani Rautavaara, Helmut Lachenman, Rodion Shchedrin, Asians Tan Dun and Unsuk Chin, to name only some.
    Next month,the Dallas opera at its splendid new home premieres the operatic version of Moby Dick by Jake Heggie, with no less than Ben Heppner as captain Ahab.
    Yes, operas from the past remain popular, but this has in no way prevented new ones from being performed. And only time will tell which survive, because thousands of operas from the past have been forgotten anyway.

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    I think it is a very good article, it brings to the forefront the need for Opera, like all genres of music, to evolve a little. opera hasn't died, and won't die, but it needs to evolve like everything else is at the moment. The beauty of it is that we can still have classical productions for those who are more conseravtive and puritan in their love of opera, but new contemporary productions and compositions can attract new fans, without losing the essence of what opera is.

    I've heard of a new opera production coming in the 2010/11 season based on the life of Anna Nicole Smith, that's the kind of contemporary production that could see opera evolving for a new audience.

    Saz
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    Opera is an 18th- and 19th-century art that must find a 20th-century audience.”

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    Super Moderator jhar26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OperaSaz View Post
    I think it is a very good article, it brings to the forefront the need for Opera, like all genres of music, to evolve a little. opera hasn't died, and won't die, but it needs to evolve like everything else is at the moment. The beauty of it is that we can still have classical productions for those who are more conseravtive and puritan in their love of opera, but new contemporary productions and compositions can attract new fans, without losing the essence of what opera is.
    I'm all for new operas on contemporary themes, but when it comes to old operas I find the vast majority of those modern productions just annoying and often even unwatchable . Singing about and referring to each other as Cesar or Orpheus while you look like the guy from the drugstore around the corner just looks silly to me. The words they are singing are often at odds with what you see. Many modern productions are like watching a movie set in biblical times where everyone is wearing a rolex. In movies they would call such a thing in blooper. If you make it a 100 times worse in opera they call it inventive. And more often than not it makes the basic storylines look implausible. It makes no sense whatsoever to transfer, say, Le Nozze di Figaro or Der Rosenkavalier to the 21st century because customs were different in the 18th and 19th century compared to today and people related differently to each other.
    Martha doesn't signal when the orchestra comes in, she's just pursing her lips..

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    SPR
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhar26 View Post
    I'm all for new operas on contemporary themes, but when it comes to old operas I find the vast majority of those modern productions just annoying and often even unwatchable . Singing about and referring to each other as Cesar or Orpheus while you look like the guy from the drugstore around the corner just looks silly to me. The words they are singing are often at odds with what you see. Many modern productions are like watching a movie set in biblical times where everyone is wearing a rolex. In movies they would call such a thing in blooper. If you make it a 100 times worse in opera they call it inventive. And more often than not it makes the basic storylines look implausible. It makes no sense whatsoever to transfer, say, Le Nozze di Figaro or Der Rosenkavalier to the 21st century because customs were different in the 18th and 19th century compared to today and people related differently to each other.
    Hm.

    This brings to mind a performance I saw by the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company of 'Henry V' in Boston some years ago which cast some of the performance in London around WWII. Nicely done, and a good example of how universal themes can transcend original period local times and customs. I think given enough careful thought and dedication - I bet something like Figaro or any opera could be cast into any timeframe without appearing silly or anachronistic. I agree it is not very easy to pull it off well.

    http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/...s/02366718.htm
    Last edited by SPR; Mar-25-2010 at 15:02.

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    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    This is the future of opera:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_-9QFvhQWo

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