Archive for the ‘muhl377’ Category

Post-Production Reflection Post

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

I would like to start by saying how pleased I was with our performance last Tuesday. I thought we did an excellent job of putting together all the disparate pieces our composers created and making them work as a whole. While the performance wasn’t perfect by any means, I thought that given the short amount of time in which we put together the opera, the performance went really well. While I wish we had had more time to organize and rehearse the opera, I felt that the parts of the performance that went particularly well were the parts of the opera that we had rehearsed the most. I also feel that the parts that went off the best were the parts where we had fun. While more rehearsal time would have been nice, I think our opera was at its best when the performers simply had fun with material. This can be seen in the opening drinking song and the final scene where the performers weren’t thinking too hard about what they were doing and instead focused on enjoying what they were doing. The parts that went less well were the ones where the performers, whether because of the complexity of the music or because of the lack of rehearsal, were thinking too hard about what they were doing and didn’t have fun with what they were doing. If I were to do this project again I would like to have a clear timetable for when things need to get done (eg when pieces need to be composed by, etc) and a firm rehearsal schedule where the rehearsals occur well before the actual performance.
In thinking about the music while the pieces turned out to create a cohesive whole, I think that each composer (of which there were three) was influenced by different composers but because of our musical training and schooling also shared a large number of musical influences. As a group before we started composing it was agreed that we were going to try and do essentially a pastiche of various compositional styles from the whole history of opera. Some of those historical efforts are more obvious than others, but I think in the end the composers (or at least two of the composers) composed their pieces in their own styles. The fact that all of these pieces ended up sounding alike speaks more to a common musical background than to similar compositional styles.

Pre-Production Post

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

The biggest issue when putting on a production of any kind is communication. In putting together our opera our biggest downfall has been a lack of communication. While all the individual pieces (music, libretto, instrumentalists, etc.) were done in plenty of time we as a group had issues communicating with each other which meant that there was a headlong rush the week before our opera to try and put everything together to try and create the cohesive story we originally came up with a month ago. Thankfully we have some very organized and dedicated people in our group that could pick up the slack where others failed and we also have an excellent group of musicians who will be able to put everything we have together in a manner befitting of this project. While there’s not much we can do to fix the past, I do think future classes need to keep in mind that a good line of communication is essential when doing a project like this, or really in putting on any kind of dramatic performance.

Pre-Production Blog

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Here’s a quick run through of the ideas I have for the opera:

  • Given that we have a large number of vocalists and a small number of instrumentalists I would suggest we focus on vocal melody over rich instrumentation.
  • Having looked over some of the other pre-production entries I think Sarah’s idea of using leitmotivs is a very good one and would play to the strengths of everyone involved.
  • I think it would best, and possibly easiest because we have no English majors in our group, to adapt a pre-existing text. We could either adapt it and create our own libretto or adapt say a play and take the libretto from the source. The latter is dependent on how comfortable our composers are with using already written text, but either way I think it would be a good idea to consider using something that’s already written as at least a foundation for our opera.
  • Finally, given our numbers and given the space we have available to us I think it might be a good idea to consider doing a more stripped down opera instead of something along the lines of grand opera or Wagnerian style music drama. While we could incorporate musical elements from both styles, in terms of staging and production it’s unlikely we could pull either style off well given the above restrictions and also the comparatively limited amount of time we have to put all of this together.

. Hopefully this will be helpful as we put together our opera. Nora