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Thread: Contemporary opera

  1. #76
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    Yes, of course Věc Makropulos (The Makropulos Case) is not contemporary at all, but rather it's almost 90 years old. Same as Turandot, for instance.

    I remember a few years ago, there were several performances of Věc Makropulos at Teatro Real, and it was a big success with the audience, and the critics alike. There is hope, and the MET is not the only opera house in the world.

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  3. #77
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    I think that in the US, as proven by the great number of local companies and learning centers, outside of the great cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston,.. there is a very healthy interest in opera.

    Both in performing opera, and also in writing new operas. Contemporary operas.

    Let's talk about one small example, of a young composer, Evan Mack, that premiered recently a piece at New York's Baryshnikov Arts Center, under the title of Angel of the Amazon, based in the brutal killing of the 73-years old American nun Dorothy Stang, in the Brazilian Amazonian city of Boa Esperanza.

    Sometimes, you don't need big means, just big dreams. With a piano, a marimba, two violins, two cellos and one guitar, you can write some 90 minutes of opera.


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    Rodion Shchedrin is a composer I like a lot who has 6 operas composed since the 60s. Very much in the style of Shostakovich or Schnittke, rather less sharp edges than the latter. Not the most modern of contemporary composers but very approachable. He has two operas based on works by Nikolai Leskov (Lady Macbeth of Mtensk is based on one of his stories too) The Lefthander from 2013 and The Enchanted Wanderer from 2002.

    Cover_MAR0004_MAR0504_1024x1024.jpg



    He also has an opera based on Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls (Gogol's short story The Nose was also made into an opera by Shostakovich) and an opera based on Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita Which I don't think has a full recording yet.

    The soft complaining flute in dying notes discovers the woes of hopeless lovers.

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    Thank you for this amazing thread I look forward to listening to the clips you have posted.



    I do wonder how an “Opera Fan” feels about Stephen Sondheim? Two of his works that fall just before the 1980 deadline, Pacific Overture and Sweeney Todd seem destined to live on via Opera companies. I can see Follies, A Little Night Music and (if the music can be made less 70’s) Company also attracting attention in the future.


    However for me his most Operatic work was Passion 1994 , which I saw in the London production that was heavily revised, with a starry cast including Michael Ball and Maria Friedman. Working for Broadway singers perhaps limited his style or maybe he’s just to schooled in that way to produce something truly operatic as Bernstein did with e.g. Glitter and be Gay.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passion_(musical)


    The Original New York production is on Youtube





    (I will confess to thinking Passion was one of his least interesting works; both the idea and the music.)

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  8. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by schigolch View Post
    I think that in the US, as proven by the great number of local companies and learning centers, outside of the great cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston,.. there is a very healthy interest in opera.

    Both in performing opera, and also in writing new operas. Contemporary operas.

    Let's talk about one small example, of a young composer, Evan Mack, that premiered recently a piece at New York's Baryshnikov Arts Center, under the title of Angel of the Amazon, based in the brutal killing of the 73-years old American nun Dorothy Stang, in the Brazilian Amazonian city of Boa Esperanza.

    Sometimes, you don't need big means, just big dreams. With a piano, a marimba, two violins, two cellos and one guitar, you can write some 90 minutes of opera.

    Here is a little work that I love. Not quite 90 minutes, but for similarly tiny forces (two voices, string quartet, percussion, and electronics)

    8.226011.jpg

    And here's a delightful little work I listened to last night. I'd call it an opera, though some might take issue with the lack of singing. (For narrator and ensemble)

    51cQRa24t5L._SX300_.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Albert7 View Post
    Sadly enough, the Met isn't doing a single new contemporary opera next season. And I wonder why.
    Pieces less than 35 years old performed during recent seasons from the Metropolitan Opera
    2010-11 Adams - Nixon in China
    2011-12 Glass - Satyagraha (1979)
    2012-13 Adès - The Tempest
    2013-14 Muhly - Two Boys
    2014-15 Adams - The Death of Klinghoffer
    2015-16 None
    2016-17 Saariaho - L'Amour de Loin
    2017-18 Adès - The Exterminating Angel
    2018-19 Golijov - Iphigenia in Aulis
    2019-20 Muhly - Marnie

    I don't see a big deal in having a single season without a contemporary opera. It's not a pattern.


    DISCLAIMERS: Future seasons are (reportedly) scheduled. Yes, Satyagraha does not meet the criteria for this thread. That season also had The Enchanted Island; take that how you will.
    Last edited by mountmccabe; Mar-10-2015 at 23:44. Reason: Reword for clarity. These pieces aren't the only contemporary operas performed at the Met during the past 35 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Couac Addict View Post
    It is a shame. If you scroll down to the bottom of this annual report https://www.operadeparis.fr/sites/de..._cliquable.pdf,

    you'll notice in the Attendance section, that Vec Makropolus (not contemporary but obscure enough to be new to many) only filled 55% of the theatre. The subsidy covers for the losses but can the Met afford to only have half of the theatre filled?
    What do Paris Opera attendance rates have to do with the Met?

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    Also looking at that list of contemporary opera at the Met I have noticed a pattern on my part. I saw Nixon In China via the Live in HD. I saw the next three in the house. I would have seen the Klinghoffer HD had it not been cancelled. ANd I will absolutely see the four upcoming premieres, provided they get the Live in HD treatment and/or I make it to NYC while they are on.

    So my thoughts on this are coming from someone very interested in the contemporary opera produced at the Met.

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    Quote Originally Posted by quack View Post
    Rodion Shchedrin is a composer I like a lot who has 6 operas composed since the 60s. Very much in the style of Shostakovich or Schnittke, rather less sharp edges than the latter. Not the most modern of contemporary composers but very approachable. He has two operas based on works by Nikolai Leskov (Lady Macbeth of Mtensk is based on one of his stories too) The Lefthander from 2013 and The Enchanted Wanderer from 2002.
    I do like some of his operas. Arguably the most succesful piece is "Dead Souls", but I have a soft spot for "Boyarina Morozova" a nice opera on the vicissitudes of the Russian aristocrat Feodosia Morozova, that was part of the raskólniki back in the 17th century, and died from starvation, while being held captive in a nunnery.

    The main musical feature of this opera, is the almost total absence of instruments. The four soloists (Boyarina Morozova; her sister, Princess Urusova, the Protopope Avvakum and Tsar Alexander) are accompanied by a trumpet, percussion and, mostly, by the Chorus, that is taking over the usual role of the orchestra here.


    A 'choral' opera:


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  17. #85
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    Claude Vivier is a musical enigma of the last 50 years. Having died before the age of 35, he certainly makes us question "what if?" as we do with all those prodigies of the past. Also, he pretty much single-handedly puts Canada on the musical map, for me at least.

    Although a student of Stockhausen, much of his music reminds me more of Boulez, especially after his travels in Asia, including a stint in Bali. However, his one opera, in my opinion, highlights the Stockhausen influence more than most of his work:

    Kopernikus: Rituel De La Mort:

    41A1SF99JCL.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountmccabe View Post
    Pieces less than 35 years old performed during recent seasons from the Metropolitan Opera
    2010-11 Adams - Nixon in China
    2011-12 Glass - Satyagraha (1979)
    2012-13 Adès - The Tempest
    2013-14 Muhly - Two Boys
    2014-15 Adams - The Death of Klinghoffer
    2015-16 None
    2016-17 Saariaho - L'Amour de Loin
    2017-18 Adès - The Exterminating Angel
    2018-19 Golijov - Iphigenia in Aulis
    2019-20 Muhly - Marnie

    I don't see a big deal in having a single season without a contemporary opera. It's not a pattern.


    DISCLAIMERS: Future seasons are (reportedly) scheduled. Yes, Satyagraha does not meet the criteria for this thread. That season also had The Enchanted Island; take that how you will.
    Skipping one year without contemporary opera is bad IMHO... it's like saying hey I don't want to get you sherbet when you end up with ice cream instead. The point is that fans of contemporary opera have to wait 365 days to see that Saariaho opera... that's a rather long delay .
    "if a horse could sing in a monotone, the horse would sound like Carly Simon, only a horse wouldn't rhyme 'yacht', 'apricot', and 'gavotte'. Is that some kind of joke?"
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanb View Post

    And here's a delightful little work I listened to last night. I'd call it an opera, though some might take issue with the lack of singing. (For narrator and ensemble)

    51cQRa24t5L._SX300_.jpg
    Yes, this one stretched the conventional frontiers of opera, as a genre. It's just a monologue based on Christa Wolf's piece about Cassandra, the Trojan seer. So, we need an actress, and not a singer. The two interludes work a little bit as commentary, at the manner of Greek tragedy. There are French, English and German versions of this opera.

    Fanny Ardant is Cassandre, in this youtube fragment:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XyI-uox1iw


    The more ambitious of Jarrell's works for the stage is Galilée, based on Brecht, that was premiered at Geneva, back in 2006.

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  23. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountmccabe View Post
    What do Paris Opera attendance rates have to do with the Met?
    Nothing, other than I had those figures available. It was only to demonstrate that new/obscure works may only draw half the audience. No surprises there but how easily can the Met absorb the losses?

    Perhaps they had something more controversial than The Death of Klinghoffer lined up and decided that they could do without the agony
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  25. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanb View Post
    Claude Vivier is a musical enigma of the last 50 years. Having died before the age of 35, he certainly makes us question "what if?" as we do with all those prodigies of the past. Also, he pretty much single-handedly puts Canada on the musical map, for me at least.

    Although a student of Stockhausen, much of his music reminds me more of Boulez, especially after his travels in Asia, including a stint in Bali. However, his one opera, in my opinion, highlights the Stockhausen influence more than most of his work:

    Kopernikus: Rituel De La Mort:

    41A1SF99JCL.jpg
    Kopernikus is available on youtube:



    I do like Vivier's music. Apart from this opera, and as mentioned above, Vivier studied the gamelan music in Bali, working with Balinese musicians, and he tried to write a piece that, starting from the very heart of Balinese music, would also incorporate the Western tradition. Was he succesful?. I think so. Let's hear this "Pulau Dewata", where somehow we can almost feel the presence of the unhappy and lonely child that was Vivier, in this sound universe created many miles away from his native Canada, by the shores of the Indian Ocean:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mY6FLC-b9A

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