Posts Tagged ‘Stravinsky’

It’s time to admit I have a problem…

I wrote one more #operaplot tweet today. It’s for Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex. But as a rap. I thought that would be particularly appropriate, since the whole show is about Oedipus’s hubris, which seems to fit right into the rap genre.  So this is what I came up with…

Oedipus Rex

Ego Rex,yo! With my mad flow. Tiresias be hatin on my bling tho. Cuz I’m the king, aint no other. Is my ho fly? Word to my mother! #operaplot

See how I snuck the latin in there?

The problem is, it wouldn’t leave my head. I kept on singing the damn thing all day. So tonight, instead of promoting my string quartet, or working on my opera, (or packing for my trip to LA tomorrow), I spent my precious few free hours after rehearsal trying to produce a passable hip hop track.

So, with my sincere apologies, I will subject you to the results.

[audio:|titles=OedipusJam Rendered]

ed: I think I mispronounced the “ego” at the very beginning.  (Should be aego, not eego).  My latin teacher would kill me.  If I had ever taken latin.

If you’d like to read my other #operaplots, you can find them here and here.  I also made a fairly ridiculous attempt to classify the many hundreds of #operaplots that others have written.


Apr 2010

Newsflash: Crappy Movie Wins an Oscar

Yeah.  I know it’s not news. I’m used to the best film not winning, but it really galls me when the WORST film nominated gets the prize. Sure, none of the nominated films were all that great, but jeesh, what was the Academy thinking?

Logorama is really the best animated short film of the year?

Heck, when I saw it I couldn’t believe it was even nominated. I mean, really? This poorly crafted one-note gag filled with drooling dialogue and despicable characters (actually, I can’t even call them characters, since that would imply that some effort at characterization was apparent) was almost unwatchable. There was one high concept “we create a world constructed entirely of LOGOs!  Get it?!  It will be like Where’s Waldo but with trademarks.  Oh how clever we are.” But they skipped the part where they found some compelling reason for this world to exist or why we would want to be there.  Or develop anything resembling characters we should care about.  Or any reason for us to be invested in any outcome.  Or any sense of actions having any consequence at all. It’s just a random smattering of profanity, violence, and “oh look, we can use a Stop and Shop logo as a traffic light! Where’s my MacArthur grant?”

So to do my part to banish the bad juju surrounding this collective lapse of reason, I’d like to share a 10 minute animation that is a lovely antidote to the 15 minutes of screen poop that won the Oscar.

Read the rest of this entry →


Mar 2010

Stravinsky the Comedian

Some really great theater can happen when opera composers play with the conventions of the genre.

In the comment section of the “What’s Opera Doc” post, Eph brought up a great bit in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Pinkerton, the brash American lieutenant  interrupts his aria almost mid phrase to offer his guest a drink of  Milk punch or Whiskey.  It’s a funny and surprising moment of reality, and reminded me of another, even more extreme example of arioso interruptus.

Stravinsky actually presses pause on an aria and then restarts it half an hour later.

In Act II, Scene 3 of The Rake’s Progress, Baba the Turk, the hero’s new wife, enters a plate smashing tirade of jealousy.  Literally plate smashing.  It’s in the score.  (“Scorned! Abused!”) In the middle of a ridiculously extended vocal candenza, Tom reaches the end of his nerves and plops his wig over her face, causing her to freeze in place, mid-aria.

[audio:|titles=Rake’s Progress Baba Before]

At the top of the next act, our now bankrupt hero’s properties are being auctioned off, including the still motionless Baba.  When this “unknown item” fetches the highest price by far, the auctioneer removes the wig and Baba springs to life, continuing the aria exactly where she left off a full 25 minutes earlier (depending on the length of intermission).  She continues her tirade, this time directed at the auction attendees. (“Sold! Annoyed!”)

[audio:|titles=Rake’s Progress Baba After]

That’s some pretty funny stuff.  (As opera goes.)  It should be pointed out that this opera was composed in 1948-1951, right around the juncture between modernism and post-modernism, which makes a lot of sense for those of you who for whom that sort of thing makes sense.  (See what I did there?)

(Excerpts from the London Digital recording with Riccardo Chailly and the London Sinfonietta.)


Feb 2010