Scene Length and how it affects the music
The length of scene has dramatically shortened over the years, particularly in terms of opening/introductory scenes. Film makers are shifting from long, drawn-out shots to rapid changes; some of these coming in different camera angles, but some are completely new scenes. In our reviewing popular television programs and their opening episodes it is common to have scenes with only 3 or 4 lines and then on to the next character. Compare this to films and TV shows even 20 years ago and you'll find the current trend is for short and sweet dialog.
But short and sweet can dramatically affect the flow of music. When the scene shifts from one to another the music needs to follow, giving each scene its own character - and yet tying the scenes together, having themes that flow across scenes and elements that bind the entire piece into a cohesive whole. One approach is to use leitmotif's to establish characters, which allows the music to quickly bounce from one leitmotif to another. There was also an initial desire to "weave" the melodies together - as the primary characters are the weavers of fate. As such, any use of leitmotif's would need to be developed with concern for how these motif's can interplay with each other. I think it's also important to give some leitmotif's characteristics of other leitmotif's to musically highlight relationships early on.
We've been in discussion with a set designer we know, someone who works in Hollywood but is also familiar with the demands of stage. It is interesting to get his feedback on how stage has begun to migrate more and more toward filmic flow. We hope "It Must Be Fate" goes even further in this direction.
While we aren't going to specifically set the libretto and music with set design work, we do want to be careful not to write something that is impossible to stage, something so filmic as to be impossible to present on stage. That said, there are certainly numerous posts on this blog about other operas that have taken film stories and translated them to stage, so I suppose - nothing's impossible.
Creating short music scenes that still tie together is proving to be challanging.