Tag Archives: Stravinsky

It’s time to admit I have a problem…

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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.

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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.

16 Responses to It’s time to admit I have a problem…

  1. Dave Moschler says:

    I have to say Brian, this is pretty amazing. Sort of like Prince Paul meets PDQ Bach. Definitely one of the best #operaplots I have ever seen (does #operaplot allow submissions for opera-oratorios?).

  2. Becky says:

    Love this Brian!

  3. Andy Mayo says:

    Actually, it sounds like Humpty. I think you’ve got an 80’s thing going on, or perhaps an early 90’s thing. But don’t quit the day job…

  4. Jennifer Peterson says:

    Word, yo. #operaplot

  5. Michael Fitch says:

    Guess what Stravinsky is going in his grave right now?




    Decomposing!
    (Ha ha, you thought I was going to say Rolling over!)

    Truly one of the best raps I’ve heard in the CIR (Caucasian Intellectual Rap) genre.

  6. […] with shimmy. This year’s competition features Jonas Kaufmann as the judge, and inspired a rap song and a movie trailer. I am a total […]

  7. […] rhyming couplets and limericks as well as dazzling displays of wit.  There’s even been a rap and an epic film […]

  8. Sister says:

    Oh no he di’int’.

  9. […] A hysterical rap by Brian Rosen. Watch out, he’s going neo-classical on yo’ ass. […]

  10. Gale Martin says:

    This was brilliant!!!! Good luck from a fellow wangsta.

  11. […] Best Creative Use Of An #Operaplot: Brian Rosen (MusicVsTheater) for his Oedipus Rex rap […]

  12. […] auch ausgehen mag Music Vs Theatre – Easily Digestible Opera Chunks | More #Operaplotting | It’s Time To Admit That I Have A Problem | How To Write An #Operaplot Vancouver Opera Blog – Do You Operaplot? Another Musicology Blog […]

  13. […] Did you have a favorite–yours or anyone else’s? I thought Brian Rosen’s Oedipus Rex rap #operaplot was brilliant. Probably made more brilliant by the fact that he recorded it: http://blog.musicvstheater.com/2010/04/30/operaplot-madness/  […]

  14. […] my way back to the office, I stopped to grab food, and ran into our friend Brian of the #operaplot rap back in the day, and a very sweet member of the Adler fellowship, also named Brian. He was studying […]

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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?Continue ReadingContinue Reading

4 Responses to Newsflash: Crappy Movie Wins an Oscar

  1. anonymous says:

    http://motionographer.com/2009/09/24/when-graphic-plays-beyond-narrative/

    maybe that will change your mind about logorama. but I agree that david’s film was the best of that year.

  2. Brian Rosen says:

    Thanks for the link. It definitely doesn’t change my mind. In some cases, it makes me dislike the short even more. So “all van drivers have mustaches” is the reason that Mr. Pringle is the van driver? The author contends that this is evidence that “The film is not just a haphazard amalgamation of commercial symbols though. It is a carefully instigated scenario that took on challenging artistic as well as technical decisions.”

    I remain unconvinced. These guys have nothing to say.

  3. oscar the grouch says:

    PSS was hands down my favorite last year. IMO Logorama’s victory was predictable however given the value placed on political message in the Oscars of late.

  4. James says:

    Please Say Something made me completely change my mind about 3D animation, I had been completely put off 99% of it (probably because of the low quality soulless 3D films Hollywood has been churning out ) until I saw PSS.

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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  MilkContinue Reading

2 Responses to Stravinsky the Comedian

  1. You see interrupted songs more often, I think, in musical theater, which maybe lends itself to the device better than opera because song and speech are being juxtaposed all over the place already. For example, in My Fair Lady, Freddy is rhapsodizing about Eliza’s behavior at the race the day before, and just as he recalls her cry of “Move your bloomin’ …!” he’s interrupted by someone answering the door before he can complete the thought. (A particularly canny device, because the whole point of Freddy’s little bit of song there is to remind the audience where we last left that part of the story, and this gently nudges the audience to remember for themselves how the line ended and thus to remember the situation and Freddy’s foolish naivete.)

    A fairly common structural device in musicals is to sing a chorus or two of a song and then, without stopping for applause, have a short dialogue scene which wraps up the action of that scene and/or points ahead to what’s coming next. Meanwhile, the music of the song continues under the dialogue. That bit of dialogue business finished, we return to the song for one more chorus, or sometimes just a repeat of the last line or two. The reason for this: The end of a song gets applause, so it’s desirable to end the scene and the song at the same time so that the applause adds to the sense of conclusion of the scene and helps cover some of the transition to the next scene. Whereas the lamest way you can end a scene is to have the song end and then have maybe three or four lines of dialogue and then the scene ends. If your scene continues with more dialogue after the song, generally you need that dialogue to be substantial and significant, like a minute or more and containing some real plot, or it will come off as an anticlimax after the end of the song. So if the bit of dialogue you have isn’t important enough to stretch out to a minute or so, and you can’t cut it and you can’t place it before the song even starts, then what you can do is put it *within* the song.

    That’s not quite the same thing as what you’re talking about, as it’s not meant for comic effect — in fact, the writers are ardently hoping that it doesn’t call attention to itself as a device — but very similar in terms of structure.

    Another favorite interruption of mine from musical theater: In the act two opening number of The Most Happy Fella, the chorus number is abruptly interrupted in the middle of a phrase, the lights change, everybody on stage freezes except for two characters, and these two characters sing what they’re thinking about while everybody else is having a good time. Their music is completely different in mood, tempo, rhythm, everything — where the chorus is lively and joyful, their duet is brooding and anguished. Then they finish, the lighting changes back, and the chorus resumes its lively number in midphrase exactly where it left off.

    So what Loesser has there is a song actually being interrupted by a whole other song. And not for comedy, either — the effect is to make vivid these two people’s unhappiness in the middle of a crowd that’s celebrating. It’s a powerful moment.

  2. Here’s a favorite interruption of mine from opera: In the ORIGINAL version of Ariadne auf Naxos, in Zerbinetta’s big showpiece, at one point the orchestra crescendos to the point where it drowns her out, you can’t hear her singing her line. Zerbinetta gestures impatiently to the conductor in the pit to get him to quiet them down. The orchestra gets quieter, Zerbinetta gestures her approval, and she continues. Unfortunately when Strauss and von Hofmannsthal revised the opera, they shortened the showpiece and dropped this little moment of silliness.

    There’s a lovely joke of the same sort in Haydn’s 60th symphony: The last movement begins with a lively theme, but after a few measures there’s suddenly a terrible dissonance. The conductor stops the orchestra and has all the strings check their tuning. The pair of violins that is found to be incorrectly tuned then plays the offending note while tuning it, so you hear it slide up a half step. Then the movement starts over from the beginning and continues without further mishap. All this — the orchestra stopping, the tuning of the strings up a half step — is carefully written out in Haydn’s score.

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