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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 9:26 am 
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of Vinyamar
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Fun show, very clever and two outstanding roles for females. I far prefer it to the book actually!

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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 3:07 pm 
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I again know almost nothing about it beyond the barest idea of the premise and the fact that it's popular. And that B likes the soundtrack and the novel, which is a big part of why we're going.
:wooper:


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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 3:18 pm 
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of Vinyamar
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Its a cracking story, good fun and a lovely twist on the Wizard of Oz. Plus, in Defying Gravity you get pretty much the inspiration for Frozen's "Let it Go", which was written for an performed by the original Elphaba, Idina Menzel. Its at the end of Act One and a proper showstopper.

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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:05 pm 
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A good slow. Not profound like the last two I saw, but as you said, fun and clever; sort of like Shrek meets Harry Potter. :) The effects and stagecraft were quite impressive (I'm still trying to work out how they pull off that rain/cape effect). And again, the lyrics! Full of rhymes-within-rhymes and tricky ways of playing with words and pronunciation to find rhyme in hidden places. I'm starting to realize that Hamilton wasn't quite as singular in that department as it seemed when I first encountered it this spring without the context of other modern musicals. True, Hamilton takes the art to something of an extreme, but apparently clever lyrics are just what you do on Broadway. I don't understand why pop music, Disney, etc. haven't tried to get in on these techniques, because they're so much fun to listen to. Just one short example:

And though you protest
Your disinterest
I know clandest-
inely
You're gonna grin and bear it
Your new found popularit-
ty!

Wrapping one rhyme inside another; taking a long word and splitting it across two lines, using both an inner syllable and the final one in two separate rhymes? Twice?! Love it! (now if it was Hamilton, they'd have found a way to play with the "i" sound in "clandestinely" too :)).


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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:18 pm 
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of Vinyamar
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I suppose I just take this for granted! You should try some Sondheim next!

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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:39 pm 
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I saw the Tim Burton film of Sweeney Todd years ago and remember getting similar vibes from "A little priest" ("shepherd's pie peppered with actual shepherd on top" :upsidedown:. Speaking of which, I thought specifically of that number during Wicked's "Something Bad." Something about the rhythm was similar). But I was a bit disappointed by the film as a whole; can I trust the musical itself it better? Although I suppose you're not exactly unbiased where that production is concerned. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:07 pm 
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of Vinyamar
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Well, the Movie leaves out all chorus numbers for one. There's a few options out there. Check out the copncert performances by Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson, or Patti Lupone with George Hearne. The original version with Len Carious and Angela Lansbury (yes that Angela Lansbury) is available too.

Here's the Bryn Terfel one. At the very least, watch the opening number! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:24 pm 
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of Vinyamar
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This is the Patti Lupone version (with a young Neil Patrick Harris as Toby!)


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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:24 pm 
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Ok; I watched the opening number from the Terfel version. I didn't know about the gimmick, so that was a fun surprise. I'll listen to the whole thing, but that will obviously take time.


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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:51 pm 
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I've seen the whole thing now. I quite enjoyed it. The minimalist approach to props and sets is a pretty stark contrast to Burton's visual extravagance, but it works. And Emma Thompson sort of steals the show, huh?


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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:57 pm 
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I've watched both those versions now and some smatterings of the original Broadway production too. Aside from the cuts, the biggest difference I noticed vs. the Burton production was in how Johanna was handled. The film cuts most of her material which makes her a bit of a cipher, but in what's left they essentially play her story straight. She's an innocent damsel in distress whose love story is the one point of light in what is otherwise a dark tale of loss, murder, and revenge. But in the stage productions she struck me as little more than a bratty teenager, and Anthony's material (especially the first "Johanna") became ironic and mocking in that light rather than sweet and romantic. If anyone's an ingenue here, it's Anthony--he's too infatuated to perceive that the object of his affection will obviously make for a shrewish and nagging wife, and too innocent to use violence to achieve his ends. Johanna, on the other hand... (the film kept that scene but cut the shooting, which suggests their changes to her character were deliberate). What do you (any of you) think? Is this on the mark, or am I reading too much between the lines?

And speaking of reading between the lines, toward the end, Mrs. Lovett makes a big deal of telling Tobias that the secret to making the meat sweet and tender is to put it through the grinder three times. The script emphasizes this unnecessary detail enough and repeats it enough times that I figured there must be some hidden significance there; what I came up with is that the musical itself is the third generation of the story (the first being the original Victorian serial, and the second the 1973 play). Well? :D


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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:30 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:43 pm 
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Good luck tonight, Al!


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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 4:28 pm 
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of Vinyamar
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Thanks Dave!

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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:07 am 
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So.... how did it go?

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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:05 am 
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The scene: the food court of the Caveat Emporium, shortly after Zenobia Stornoway left us.

"I never did tell you what was so special about my palimpsest necklace, did I?" remarked Agent Laphroaig.

"I didn't like to ask."

She smiled and lowered her voice and leaned forward in a conspiratorial fashion. "Well," she said, "just listen to this..." She pulled out her phone again, and pulled up a document, then handed it to me. On the screen was a musical score. "Here's a bit of music I bet you've never heard of, let alone heard," she said. "It's from Mozart's lost German opera."

"Mozart lost a German opera? How?" I asked.

"Well, lost or never finished. Or possibly never wrote at all. But we do know that in 1783, he wrote to his father saying he had started writing a German opera based on a comedy by Goldoni, translated into German by Baron Binder. But this opera, if it ever existed, has never come to light."

I pondered the discovery of a previously-unknown Mozart opera. "But wait... then your palimpsest..."

"Isn't the lost opera," she sighed. "I thought it was, when I acquired it. But, after extensive forensic analysis, I determined that it was something else entirely."

I scrolled through the document on her phone, playing the music in my head. "This aria," I said, "is it the only surviving piece of this elusive opera?"

"We're not even sure of that much," she said. "Look at the first line - it's sung by a character named 'Karl'. There's no Karl in the Goldoni play. Of course, he could have changed the names. But there's nothing in the play that fits the situation. The character sings of rescuing Lischen from a from a herd of dragons. Is he speaking hypothetically, or is he really faced with a thousand dragons? Without context, we can only guess."

"Is there a Lischen in the play?" I asked.

"No. Nor a Lisa, nor anything for which 'Lischen' could reasonably be called a nickname. It's a comedy. This aria is... very, very serious."

I pondered a bit. "You know," I said, "L'Italiana in Algeri is one of Rossini's goofiest and silliest operas. But imagine if that opera was lost, except for 'Pensa alla Patria'. Musicologists would be referring to it as Rossini's lost serious heroic opera."

She thought about this for a moment. "That's a good point," she said. "But as long as we knew the plot, we'd be able to figure out how 'Pensa alla Patria' fits in. We know the Goldoni play - it's quite famous, in fact, and has been made into a movie more than once - and there's no obvious place to put this aria, let alone a character to assign it to." She took back the phone, scrolled down a bit, and handed it back to me. "Just look at how he matches the text with the music. Look how the accompaniment is so boisterous, so stormy, while Karl is so calm in the face of it as he sings about the dangers he's prepared to face. Then look here, where he sings about the possibility of sinking into an early grave -" she scrolled down some more and pointed to the passage she was describing - "all the accompaniment comes to a dead halt, and the singer sings a phrase that starts on a high G, and plunges down an octave and a half. Then, look at this..." - she advanced the document a few pages - "... the same words return near the end, and this time, the words are set to a descending chromatic phrase, with each note separated by a rest. It's almost like the singer is panting out his last breath."

I looked at the passage in question, playing it in my head. "It's like he's dying before our very eyes. Or ears. Damn. Why isn't this piece more well-known? In fact, why isn't it in every tenor's repertoire?"

"I'm glad you asked," she said. "There are only two or three recordings of it in existence. I think you should record it and put it on youtube, and bring the grand total up to three or four."

"Hmmm. All right, email it to me and I'll give it a try."

"I can do better than that - I'll send it directly to your printer." I looked over the table at her phone as she punched a few buttons.

"Um... why do you have an icon that says 'Agent Camville's Printer'?"

"Oh, I hacked into your home network and saved a shortcut in case I ever need to send you something. Oh, don't look at me like that - if you really want to secure your network, don't use your dog's name as a password. That's the first thing everyone tries."

"You hacked into my network?" I sputtered. "That's... that's... right, I'm changing my password."

"Yes, I think you should," she said, not looking up from her work.

"First thing when I get home."

"Good, good."

With an air of affronted dignity, I haughtily raised my coffee cup to my lips. Just as I took a sip, she added, "Incidentally, were you thinking of changing it to 'edinburgh', all lower case?"

I sputtered coffee all over the table. When I finally got my powers of speech back, I said "No! Of course not! That's totally not what I had in mind!"

"Good. Because that wouldn't have been a challenge at all. I suggest you make it as long as possible, and add some numbers and punctuation."

"Fine. I will."

"Good."

"Yes, good."

"Right, that's done," she said, putting her phone away. "You should have the printout waiting for you when you get home." She started putting her coat on and gathering her things. "We should head off to the MacGregor Farm first thing in the morning. See you tomorrow."

"Yes. See you tomorrow." I watched her leave, waving at me over her shoulder, completely missing my air of affronted dignity. Oh well.

As she predicted, when I got home the printout of the Mozart aria was sitting in my printer tray. Eventually, I did follow her advice to record it and put it on youtube. This is the result:


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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 11:47 am 
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Jude wrote:
So.... how did it go?


Very well thanks. We had a major technical hitch when one of the fuses blew backstage, causing us to lose sound and light to the orchestra. FOr two numbers, we only had a piano accompaniment, but they got it sorted fairly quickly. Audience loved it and I got my first full nights sleep in about a month!

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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 3:25 pm 
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Congrats, Al!!

And great story, Jude.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 4:06 pm 
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Congratulations, Alatar! I hope the rest of the run is fun and you catch up on your sleep.

Jude! Bravo! And I enjoyed it so much more having read that lovely, idiosyncratic introduction. You're a man of many amazing talents.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:42 am 
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Stop the presses! There's going to be a world première of Donizetti's up-to-now unperformed opera "L'ange de Nisida" in London in July 2018!

If you're not an opera geek, you may not realize how huge this is. Imagine someone discovering a fully-fleshed-out narrative of The Tale of Beren and Lúthien, completely finished without Christopher's involvement. It's that kind of huge.

Now... how can I get myself to London in July 2018? Hmmm...

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