Monday, August 24, 2009


To the Editor:

As Mr. Tommasini points out John Adams;
" has rightly been hailed as giving the genre an innovative jolt."
Then again what is the nature of "innovation" if it stifles artistic debate as well as excuse many a dramatic fault?
Texts that make no sense? Ungrateful to sing and badly composed for the voice? Orchestration covering the voice so you need amplification? Bad scansion? No dramatic pacing? Innovation at work.
On the other hand why would a successful composer want to risk a winning formula?

The fault, if any, is not just Mr. Adams but true of almost all of American Opera--there is not enough produced, not enough in the repertory, and not enough performances. So the same compositional mistakes are made again and again.

You just can't expect John Adams to be Alban Berg.

Phil Fried

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