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Objectivist Opera

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emanon
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Hi,

I'm a young composer in Australia, and I am just beginning work on what I hope will culminate into an opera. An opera built around the Objectivist ideal (among other Obj. principals) that a man's highest value and his ultimate joy is his own life and love of it.

The biggest trouble I am having is determining a workable occupation for the Hero.

The idea of a sculpture appeals to me greatly but what I'd want to do with it has already been done by Terry Goodkind in one of the later "Sword of Truth" novels. I envision the opera culminating in the revealing of some grand achievement of the hero after immense persecution and oppression; a piece of art perhaps which reawakens in some other of the oppressed (those who value life, but may have forgotten it) the desire to live, fully and with dedication to the essence of life.

But like I said, this is exactly what Goodkind did and as much as I love the poetics of it, I will not steal the work of another man and call it my own.

Alas, what then can be the triumph of my hero that will have the necessarily accessible but dramatic effect on stage?

Can you think of any triumphant, artistic endeavor/occupation that would allow for such poetics, even if in a different way?

Thanks,

Chris

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Hi Chris

What did you think about The Producers? An opera about a opera being written?

Nathan

I enjoyed the producers, albeit on a whimsical level.

It's an interesting suggestion. I consiered having the character being a composer, but then the resulting composition would be difficult to demonstrate in the way I wanted. The Opera about the writing of an Opera is a little less complicated. My first reaction is that I like the idea, and the 'cleverness' of it. It seems to, when I think about it, remind me of a picture within a picture within a picture... (continued to infinity).

I'll have to give it serious consideration. My first concern with having the person's occupation be the same as mine is that people will automatically connect the two, where as I would rather that didn't happen. The reason for this is that I want the opera to inspire the audience to life in someway, but for that to happen, the hero must be both sufficiently abstract and sufficiently relateble.

That is to say that it can't be of a real, definable person because otherwise an audience would instinctively feel that the hero was not representative of themselves and their own potential. There needs to be the bond which makes the audience grow with the hero.

Thank you for the suggestion, I shall give it hard consideration.

Chris

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Make him a composer, Emanon. It has been done before successfully-- "Capriccio" by Strauss was essentially a love letter to the genre.

Incidentally, when you are finished with it, would you like to have Colorado be the American debut of the opera? I know the head of an opera company here who is always looking out for new operas.

Heck, if you make the hero a lyric tenor, I'm your man!

Edited by kainscalia
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To have your hero be a sculptor is only copying if you really think that you would not have chosen it without influence of the previous material.

Only you can make that moral distinction.

The reasons why a sculptor would be a good choice are numerous.

With all respect to Kainscalia, one of the problematic parts of making the hero a composer is that a composer by deinfintion is dependent to some extent on others for the culmination of their work which could complicate a story. You can write the most beautiful piece of music ever and if you can't get great musicians to play it... you follow?

It is one of the problems I had as a musician.. dependence on others to make what I wanted to make.

This is not a value judgement on anything anyone has suggested here.. but I thought merited pointing out.

From what I gathered of the OP's post it would seem he has in mind someone whose work stands alone.

edited typo

Edited by QuoVadis
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With all respect to Kainscalia, one of the problematic parts of making the hero a composer is that a composer by deinfintion is dependent to some extent on others for the culmination of their work which could complicate a story.

History has seen many composers whose work was championed by one or another personality. The wonderful Lee Hoiby (his music is wonderful, he's an ass) had Grace Bumbry, the awful Britten had the equally awful Peter Pears. The possibility here allows a very powerful theme of a creator and someone who admires his creation and working for it. An exchange of values. The soprano: A reclusive diva of the stature of Maria Callas who retired from performing because she was simply tired of the quality of operas being composed nowadays (like the most recent atrocity, "The Golden Ticket"). Yet he wants *her* to be his prima donna for his opera/song cycle/whatever. At the end of the opera you could have the soprano performing triumphantly, the composer at the piano or conducting, etcetera. She's his Kay Gonda, he is her Roark, to borrow characters.

Also, you are assuming that the work of a composer does not stand alone. This is a fallacy. Performers come and performers go. Maria Callas may have been the champion of Bel Canto and brought Bel Canto back into the full stage, but that doesn't mean that without Maria Callas, Bellini is nothing. "Norma" remains, even now that all that's left of Maria Callas are her bones and recordings.

Oh well.

Edited by kainscalia
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History has seen many composers whose work was championed by one or another personality. The wonderful Lee Hoiby (his music is wonderful, he's an ass) had Grace Bumbry, the awful Britten had the equally awful Peter Pears. The possibility here allows a very powerful theme of a creator and someone who admires his creation and working for it. An exchange of values. The soprano: A reclusive diva of the stature of Maria Callas who retired from performing because she was simply tired of the quality of operas being composed nowadays (like the most recent atrocity, "The Golden Ticket"). Yet he wants *her* to be his prima donna for his opera/song cycle/whatever. At the end of the opera you could have the soprano performing triumphantly, the composer at the piano or conducting, etcetera. She's his Kay Gonda, he is her Roark, to borrow characters.

Also, you are assuming that the work of a composer does not stand alone. This is a fallacy. Performers come and performers go. Maria Callas may have been the champion of Bel Canto and brought Bel Canto back into the full stage, but that doesn't mean that without Maria Callas, Bellini is nothing. "Norma" remains, even now that all that's left of Maria Callas are her bones and recordings.

Oh well.

I think you misunderstand me.

If you compose a piece of classical music and you can't get anyone of merit to actually perform the thing.... you see what I'm saying? Some symphonies have as many as 70 to 100 musicians. Not even to begin mentioning that you take the best piece of music ever written, put poor musicians playing it and you have ...garbage.

"Also, you are assuming that the work of a composer does not stand alone. This is a fallacy. Performers come and performers go"

Listen to what you are saying... your own statement declares that the composer does not stand alone. Performers may come, performers may go.. but what does not change is that there must be performers.

A sculptor is completely self sufficient. You could argue materials but even in an apocolypse someone could use trash, wood, stones, dirt, anything to make a sculpture.

I am not saying that a sculptor is greater or less than a composer. What I was trying to convey is that it would of necessity be a very different story because of the logistics.

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Thanks both for the suggestions.

The truth as I see it is that you are both right. The composer idea could work, and I do very much like the idea of the Soprano for quit due to the degradation of music by composers. At the same time, it has several substantial challenges that one would have to face...

I an 2 hours of music and singing, that one piece of music sung by the soprano (for example) would have to be so incredibly tremendous compared to what has proceeded it, otherwise the effect would potentially be lost. But I can also see potential ways to dramatize the performance which would help in this regard.

I can think of ways to make that moment heart-wrenchingly beautiful, but damn it will be hard to do well.

Incidentally, when you are finished with it, would you like to have Colorado be the American debut of the opera? I know the head of an opera company here who is always looking out for new operas.

Heck, if you make the hero a lyric tenor, I'm your man!

Colorado? I was in Denver in February! I didn't get to see much of the place besides the Airport though. I was on my way to Steamboat.

Anyway, I wont make any guarantees just yet. I am committed to this project, but to do it right could potentially take me years. A lot can happen in a few years. That said, I will keep your suggestion firmly in mind and discuss it further with you when I have started to compose the work. Thanks for the idea, I appreciate the consideration.

While I'm on the topic, what is your venue like? I'm currently trying to work out how I will go about containing the story within a limited number of sets.

To have your hero be a sculptor is only copying if you really think that you would not have chosen it without influence of the previous material. Only you can make that moral distinction. The reasons why a sculptor would be a good choice are numerous.

Honestly, I can't say I would have thought of it without the Goodkind. I'm not sure. I conceived of the philosophical gesture that I wanted to mark the climax, and what Goodkind did with the sculpture was identical in gesture. While the advantages are obvious, I think I would rather find my own gesture that is, if possible, even more poetic.

It is one of the problems I had as a musician.

My curiosity is perked. Are you still a musician?

From what I gathered of the OP's post it would seem he has in mind someone whose work stands alone.

That was my original conception, but there are advantages to both it being a standalone or a collaborative work. A = A. If it works, it works. So standalone is not really the criteria I'm using for my decision.

Like you said though, they will require different approaches.

Thanks again to both of you, some great ideas in your posts.

Chris

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I can think of ways to make that moment heart-wrenchingly beautiful, but damn it will be hard to do well.

Anything worth doing... :) It's definitely a very powerful challenge :)

While I'm on the topic, what is your venue like? I'm currently trying to work out how I will go about containing the story within a limited number of sets.

Well, I sang there in March and it seats about 3000 people. The acoustics are simply excellent and the venue is quite large. It's located in Colorado Springs!

Sorry I haven't gotten back to you yet, but I promise that either tonight or tomorrow I'll answer your message in full :)

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