Monday, December 15, 2008

New Opera: "Leave Me Alone!"

Two Cleveland natives have written a new opera, Leave Me Alone! which premieres Saturday, January 31, 2009, at 8 p.m. in Finney Chapel (Cleveland). The performance will also be streamed live to an international audience online at www.LeaveMeAloneOpera.com. Iconic underground comic book author Harvey Pekar wrote the libretto for jazz saxophonist Dan Plonsey.

The live Internet performance of this opera has me most intrigued. "Doctor Horrible" was an Internet broadcast of a musical (in three episodes) that was a cult hit, but part of that is due to Josh Weeden, who has a huge following from his "Buffy the Vampire" and "Serenity" ("Fire Fly") series'. If this opera can achieve the same kind of notoriety, than composers may get the opportunity to present new works without the long protracted process required by opera houses today. So, mark the date on your calendar and listen in (or if you're anywhere near Cleveland, go to see if live!).

The concept of the music sounds interesting. This from the website, "my music comes about as an accretion of bits of mis-remembered music from around the world, organized according to: the modernist principle of the organic; the post-modern recognition that everything goes with everything else; and the post-post-modern rejection of things clever, overworked and cynical, opting instead for simple presentation of beauties both mysterious and obvious. In concrete terms, this means working with a small ensemble of multi-instrumentalists, chosen more for their personal qualities as for instrumental abilities. The music features meandering melodies, accompaniments, and bass lines which each pull in different and unexpected directions, reasonably and unreasonably." It will be interesting to hear if the vocalists perform the music in a more operatic (bel canto) style, or whether they are more jazz vocalists in performance.

4 comments:

Kate said...

Hi there,
I'm one of the singers who will be in "Leave Me Alone" in January, and we'll be singing in a jazz style (though some of us are classically trained).
:)

Chip Michael said...

So, does that mean you'll be approaching the text more with a musical feel, or with a operatic feel?

Any other thoughts on the rehearsal process, the pre-production experience would be greatly appreciated....

Kate said...

I'm not sure what you mean by musical vs. operatic feel.

Chip Michael said...

The way a vocalist approaches the music in a music is much different than they do for an opera. The sound of song sung in an operatic style is very different than one done is a musical style. Musical singing tends to be more "honest" and yet not as pure. An opera style will focus more on the sound quality of the note, where a musical style will focus more on the words clarity. Consonants are more important in musicals, where vowels are more important in operas. These are all generalizations, but typical delineations between the two styles.