Sunday, October 31, 2010


I'm just back from Baltimore where I gave a lecture recital on my improvisations at the livewire festival at UMBC.

The subject here is opera.  I heard an interesting work there an "installation opera" Sam by Thomas Deleo and P Inman.  A fine work but in his explanation of the work and  its incomprehensibility --the text perhaps would make a great mobile.  He said that opera is not restricted to meaning as meaning itself is a limitation.  Fair enough but it was also proposed that no one who is serious about art is interested in meaning at this time.  This seem in line with comments made at another event that orchestras are "museums"  out of touch with composers.  Usually this is stated because the folks who propose this can't get orchestras to perform their work. To say that its old technology does not convince either as a technological advance is not the same as an artistic advance.   In any case its not true in Europe and it has more to do with American funding and the orchestra's gate keepers than with the orchestra. It also has to do with the mutually exclusive world of musical teams.  Orchestras are instruments after all.  They can be purchased.

Anyway technology is much better funded than the arts.

The problem again with calling this work an opera which it is in fact not (it is not informed by any opera I know of [that is crucial at least to me]) is that it makes it look as if people are composing operas when they are not. It also robs the genre of multimedia sound art of its of its own identity.   On the other hand orchestra's are getting unfairly clobbered by the art world, and the perceived opera world, because of  their perceived lack of flexibility and openness.  Opera by chance gets a free ride.  What I mean is this; opera institutions have no stake in these "sound art" events but oddly get the benefit merely by the association of title.

Go figure!

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