Saturday, November 22, 2008
A playwright friend & I have recently being going through some libretto possibilities. There are some really interesting ideas, but I've started to worry about things being either too fashionable (which is one sort of risk) or not fashionable enough (which is another sort of risk altogether). A vampire opera, for example, immediately suggests lots of interesting musical solutions (even Marschner's empty coffin of a vampire opera has been getting revived) but it would inevitably be thrown against the whole pop culture vampire phenomena (not to mention the fact that I've already done my Edward Gorey puppet opera). A pirate opera, on the other hand, has real-world news value above and beyond any popular phenomena, but poses instead a musical issue for me, in that I'm not particularly interested in a piece without (or with few) female voices, short of imagining a Barbary — or Somalian — Coast version of a Seraglio harem, which would probably be too cheerful for the particular species of piracy encounter in these times. How about historical or political topics? A Bush in Bagdad might have been imaginable if the resident had stayed on the bottle and sometimes went to bed late and did more than squeeze German Chancellors. As it is, he so boring (see: evil half-wit, the banality of the) you simply can't imagine the guy in Sprechstimme, let alone singing. Perhaps you have to have a certain distance to pull this off, anyways. Stravinsky suggested a Maximillian and Carlotta opera, a great idea, complete with a Manet-quality execution and a very long mad scene, but, surprisingly, no one's ever made a go of it.