Tag Archives: bartok

it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

just cause everybody’s doing it: a (brief) compilation of my entries for this year’s #operaplot!

1. the mate was pretty venus’ son/the queen was strong & sure/Italie the gods cry the queen’ll die/in this 5 hour tour a 5 hour tour

2. why does the devil always get the good music? this isn’t “the damnation of Lucifer”!

3. heres a story of a lovely lady/who was watching 2 very scary kids/both of them had ghosts who wanna keep them/every1 gets screwed

4. let’s make a deal! door #1=bloody jewels door #2=bloody weapons door#3 = dead wives. wait, shouldn’t one be a car or something?

5. i ❤ a girl but she's w/a thug i'll trick him into getting arrested. wait he's back & took my girl to NYC? oh lawd i'm on my way!

6. baritone lets crazy lady (man? lady?) ride boat for free. puts up w/her moans & reunites lady w/lost (dead) son?! domo arigato!

7. sid & nancy aren't punks but they sure start a riot! albert, mom always said not to drink the kool-(lemon)-aid!

8. stutter much?/throw a punch!/send that Claggart out to lunch/starry Vere/must adhere/beauty Billy must die, i fear

9. from the Piazza San Marco to Lido there's enough malaria and cute Polish boys to go around! book your tickets now, one way only.

10. restless Etruscan rides all night to have way w/chaste Roman. Roman has a "hangover" only suicide can cure. is this it all?

11. Elizabethan queen/though we're sharing the same dream/while our hearts still beat as one/no courtly love (or dances) on the run

can you guess?

1. Berlioz – Les Troyens
2. Berlioz – La Damnation de Faust
3. Britten – Turn of the Screw
4. Bartok – Bluebeard's Castle
5. Gershwin – Porgy and Bess
6. Britten – Curlew River
7. Britten – Albert Herring
8. Britten – Billy Budd
9. Britten – Death in Venice
10. Britten – The Rape of Lucretia
11. Britten – Gloriana

(i tried to do all of the Britten operas, save Grimes. i think it turned out pretty well!)

for more information on #operaplot, what it does & why it’s so awesome, check out its home at The Omniscient Mussel. (if you know where that comes from, you get an internet cookie!)

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we have nothing to fear but fear itself

and Bartók.

in Robert Levin’s talk on wednesday, he mentioned how one of the things that makes music (and performances) exciting is that feeling of risk, not knowing what the performer might do or if they’ll come out alive. i completely agree with this concept but today, in rehearsal, i had to wonder…when does calculated risk turn into unbridled fear?

most of the composers whose music we tend to play, thankfully, are dead. and unless the world goes all 28 days later, Beethoven isn’t going to pop out of his grave and yell at us when we play Eroica. so because of that, and that crazy notion that music is never static, we take calculated risks with our performances, within reason. the payoff is an audience that’s been surprised, moved, etc. but the key component to this is the “calculated” part. and the most important part is that everyone involved needs to know that this is the case. so if you’re in an orchestra and you don’t understand what the conductor is trying to do up through the performance, whatever changes they may have made, risks they may have taken, weren’t calculated to you.

adrenaline can be our friend, it can give us a clarity of thought that can allow us to accomplish amazing things. it can also stop you dead in your tracks. so the fear i feel when onstage without the “calculation” doesn’t push me to edge of the precipice in order to look over the edge, it kicks me down the damn mountain. and then what the audience hears is not passion and danger but chaos. and no one responds well to chaos.

i have a concert tomorrow. it will be all manner of things, i’m sure. but it’s this one instance when i wish we could leave the chaos at home.

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