Sunday, May 20, 2007

Alexis Diamond on the opera creation process

Alexis Diamond wrote a fascinating article entitled "Making Contemporary Opera Work" in the Summer 2006 edition of Notations, the journal of the Ontario region of the Canadian Music Centre. A graduate of the 2003 Tapestry Composer/Librettist Laboratory, she then embarked upon a fellowship from the Canadian Opera Creation Program to study the opera creation process. An excerpt from Alexis' article:

What was so amazingly revealed through my research was a series of consistent themes, no matter the era, the opera, or the team.

I was immediately struck by the fact that so many of the operas written by those I interviewed treated historical subjects, events or figures – a fact which links these new works to the traditional repertoire. Obviously, the story of an opera has to be large enough in scope to sustain the largesse of the voices, the music and the staging, but also as Don Hannah, librettist of Facing South, said, the “large emotional content.” Keith Turnbull’s theory is that the historical dimension gives both partners an external, objective referent that grounds the idea and subsequent discussions of the work.

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