Wednesday, April 13, 2011

the more things change--NMB does new opera

NMB features another dross on "new opera"--again rather "new music theater"  Operatic terms are used as if they had some meaning or relationship to the subject at hand.  An opera to me references known opera.  New Music Theater can reference anything. Composers are mentioned but not their operatic works. It seems that these folks believe that they are not only involved in opera but are leading the way.


These works, and  there are a whole lot o' 'em, start with incomprehensibility and work to illuminate an editorial  (or pre-compositional) program far removed from the theatrical experience of the work itself.  Its as if the text of Joyce's Ulysses was optional as long as it hints at the more important design.

In 2 different posts one by DS  we see this quote--

"Referring to the epic theater of Brecht and Artaud's Theater of Cruelty, ... contemporary French philosopher Jacques Rancière argues that..."

As if reading a single "important" book explains theater.  Better to read and see those plays. Then again why only the French perspective?  Music theater or any theater is international after all.  Is French theater the most important kind of theater?  We can suggest with some certainty that French opera is perhaps not the most important type of Opera. Why use a text on straight theater to explicate opera?  There are differences.   Of course in both NMB instances no has any opera or vocal composition or legit theater experience.  Or any need to reference previous works except in order to say what they are not doing. 

Sadly  these works are all alike.  This is because these things are not done out of artistic choice but by necessity.  The compositional palette is too limited Meaningless text is frequently a crutch that devolves on the performers.  Naturally everyone's first step into incomprehensibility is obvious and so recognizable to an audience.  That means that extreme simplicity and obviousness must be maintained to make it work.  All complexity is saved for the editorial.  Specifically the approach of the sound artist relies too heavily on creating good editorial and not creating great theater. 

Of course just getting the thing produced is note worthy enough.   That explains NMB.

Anyway I should not complain composers don't get to decide what an opera is --gatekeepers do.

No comments:

Post a Comment