Tag Archives: opera

June 24 – Sneak Peak of Failing That (my solo opera)

I’ve been doing a lot of composing so far this year. In addition to an encore for the Hilary Hahn competition (which didn’t result in an honorable mention, but did result in a pretty cool piece for violin and piano), I’ve been chugging away on the solo opera that’s been a good four years inContinue Reading

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I Hate This So You Can Tell Who I Am

Today’s blog entry in Deceptive Cadence echos a theme of my Voice Box radio show with Chloe Veltman and the corresponding conversation on Lisa Hirsch’s blog. Specifically, musical taste, both what you love and despise, is often more about self identification, ego, and image than it is about the music at hand. Some of theContinue Reading

3 Responses to I Hate This So You Can Tell Who I Am

  1. Arun says:

    We were talking about just this on the way to work this morning. I conjectured that it’s a peculiarly American thing to form opinions of people because of their taste in music, and the resulting treatment of said taste as a highly private thing, almost like politics or religion.

    I think it’s an innately tribal emotion, just like rooting for a sports team, or whether you buy American, European or Asian cars. In other words, almost nothing to do with intrinsic “worth” (if that were even quantifiable).

  2. How could you write this without mentioning your own fantastic marriage of opera and rap? http://blog.musicvstheater.com/2010/04/30/operaplot-madness/ Yo.

    • Brian Rosen says:

      Oops. You’re right. That would have been a perfect tie in. I guess it will have to wait for the comments. Oh… wait… 🙂

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Is Sondheim Classical?

The Australian Broadcasting Company recently released a list of the “Top 100 Classical Pieces of the 20th Century.”  As with any list, there is much fodder for discussion, debate and derision (judging from this list, Stravinsky apparently stopped composing after 1913). Blogger, pianist, and educator Elissa Milne was particularly disturbed by the complete omission of Sondheim’sContinue ReadingContinue Reading

4 Responses to Is Sondheim Classical?

  1. Meh. It feels like splitting hairs to me to try to make fine distinctions between what is “classical music” and what isn’t. The way the term is used is so fuzzy that it’s pointless to try to define its borders; as soon as we succeed in defining “classical music” in a way that makes it possible to make these fine distinctions, we are no longer using the word in the way that anyone really uses it.

    It seems to me that, as most people use the term, West Side Story is not classical music. It also seems to me that Symphonic Dances from West Side Story is classical music. But I’d bet that if you asked a thousand people, you wouldn’t get anything like unanimity on either of those points. The term is just too nebulous.

    Oh, well. If you want a language to be logical, you pretty much have to invent it yourself. Living languages sprawl.

    • Brian Rosen says:

      I agree that these distinctions for classification’s sake is a bit pointless, but the thought exercises that accompany such taxonomy can be enlightening. The larger point is that there is SOMETHING different between West Side Story and Sondheim’s work that, for me at least, allows the term “classical” to apply. It’s the figuring out what that something is that is, I hope, interesting and perhaps useful.

  2. I think it’s important for artists to think deeply about what they’re doing, and why. The category thing, not so much.

  3. Jirashimosu says:

    I think that classical is a matter of time rather than matter of style. Let’s give Sondheim’s work a 60 year space and we’ll see what happens.

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Glacial is the New Black: Satyagraha and Shen Wei

Somewhere imprinted in my brain is a sacred rule of story: take only as much time as you need to get an idea across. Get in, make your point, get out. Keep things moving and don’t lose your audience. But this week in New York two separate pieces, both non-narrative, reduced me to tears byContinue ReadingContinue Reading

One Response to Glacial is the New Black: Satyagraha and Shen Wei

  1. David Rodwin says:

    These are my thoughts on Satyagraha. A little less technical a little more emotional.

    And I give a shout out to you and Music vs. Theatre!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88035Q94a84

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Thoughts on Robert Ashley’s “That Morning Thing”

Composer Robert Ashley’s “opera” (experimental performance piece is a more appropriate name, although if an opera is a multifaceted convolution of music, text, and motion, I suppose this is an opera) That Morning Thing, produced for the first time in 40 years at The Kitchen as part of the Performa 11 biennial, is among theContinue ReadingContinue Reading

One Response to Thoughts on Robert Ashley’s “That Morning Thing”

  1. David Rodwin says:

    Goddamn I wish I’d seen this. “Now Eleanor’s Idea: Improvement” is one of my favorite opera recordings (and the reason I sought out Amy X), and while I’ve met Mr. Ashley (at Princeton of all places) I’ve still never seen a fully staged performance. It sounds like he succeeded in the realm I consider worthy of any artistic endeavor. He made an impact you might remember for a very long time. Much like the first time I saw John Moran perform “Mathew in The School of Life”. At The Kitchen. Of course. Glad to see they’re keeping up the tradition.

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TONIGHT: The latest from my opera

If you’re in San Francisco tonight and interested in hearing some brand new music, swing by Counterpulse at 7:30 to hear a brief excerpt of the latest from my solo opera Failing That. The section I’ll be performing was composed in the past few months and shows the early scenes involving a middle school studentContinue Reading

One Response to TONIGHT: The latest from my opera

  1. gerald rosen says:

    So art does imitate life.

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Opera On Tap comes to SF

After four years of filling the taverns and pubs of NYC with the sounds of Wagner and Verdi, Opera On Tap seems to be opening a San Francisco chapter. An audition has been announced on Facebook (hosted by local soprano/neuroscientist/miracle-debunker Indre Viskontas) and the Opera On Tap website has an as-of-yet unpopulated page for aContinue Reading

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Brilliant? According to whom?

Early on in the week, based upon a few tweets from chambermusiciantoday and Sequenza21, I checked out Elodie Lauten’s ‘new’ opera The Death of Don Juan (apparently it originated in the 80s, but this is the first staging and it was radically overhauled). The timing was right, I was going to be in the neighborhood,Continue ReadingContinue Reading

One Response to Brilliant? According to whom?

  1. I couldn’t agree more and since I cannot express it any better than you have, I’ll leave it at that. Just taking this opportunity to tell you how much I admire and enjoy your writing style Brian! Keep the posts coming!

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On the Not-So-Glamorous Life

My fellow singing waiter Mark Hernandez notified me (and all his other Facebook friends) of this cutting “dark bio” from regional opera performer Robert Orth: Robert Orth’s “Dark Biograpy” While it’s tongue in cheek (and damn funny) it offers an honest glance into the not-so-glamorous life of most working musicians that’s much more common than theContinue Reading

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Jake Heggie explains it all for you

Jake Heggie is kind of a big deal. If his own story were made into an opera, it would be laughed off as contrived and unbelievable (even more so than most opera plots). A working stiff writing copy in the PR department of a national opera gets noticed by the right people and is launchedContinue ReadingContinue Reading

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