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Building an opera: The nuts and bolts


by Olin Chism 5 Feb 2008

Opera-lovers understand that the creation of an opera is usually a collaborative effort, with a librettist writing the words and a composer writing the music (Wagner, who did it all himself, is an exception). But the actual nuts and bolts of the process is less well understood. That makes a new web post by a […]

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Opera-lovers understand that the creation of an opera is usually a collaborative effort, with a librettist writing the words and a composer writing the music (Wagner, who did it all himself, is an exception). But the actual nuts and bolts of the process is less well understood. That makes a new web post by a librettist especially interesting. Check it out to see how detailed the process is. The finished work will be onstage at Santa Fe in the summer of 2009.

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  • Olin, thanks for the link – not that the process is news to me, having heard a few such collaborations under my own roof — went to see Strausses’ “Salome” last night, a Dallas Opera first (maybe) – Oscar Wilde was said to have written the play in French, then it was translated into German, and DO had a Russian singer. Great voice but — she had mastered or at least tried to – an initial dozen or two of German words, the rest was – I swear by all that is dear to me, but – mumbled, invented, failed to enunciate, garbled, in other words, FAKED ALL OF THE REST OF THE WORDS OF THE ENTIRE OPERA!!! I sat in center orchestra, up midways between stage and balcony overhang, really in the best seats the house has, so it was not that the Music Hall swallowed up her words. How the link to the discussion of the collaborative efforts grabbed me when I read, “on which syllables of the text should the muscial stress fall in a given phrase….” Great thoughts for great minds, great orchestras and great singers, but maybe opera is one of the most difficult artistic creations to realize because its success depends on so many layers of humans to bring together a Gesamtkunstwerk (totality of artistic work) and actually realize the composer’s intent!!! —
    Greetings,
    Sonja Staron
    ps thanks for mentioning this site, I love it