Posts Tagged ‘opera’

1. We Love To See The Same Story Again and Again
We get excited that the opera we saw a couple of years ago comes back to town and off we go to see it again – even though we know the story from previous viewings, and re-read the story before the curtain rises. Operas, fairy tales, myths… we love to see these stories play out over and over again. It is the journey of the familiar tale, the anticipation of the magical moments seen or heard before, and the exciting possibility of new magical moments and insights that bring us back. As filmmakers, what are the magical moments that will give our films a lasting re-viewable quality?

2. It May Take A While To Find the Audience
La Bohème had a weak reception to its first audience… yet it went on to become one of the greatest and most popular operas of all time. Even then, there was great pressure on opening night for a sign of the future (financial and critical) success of an artistic work. Yet a poor reception doesn’t necessarily mean give up on it – opera or film. Just keep trying to find the right audience to make the connection.

3. Education Can Take You Only So Far
In vocal music class, the only acceptable stances for singing were sitting (with your back straight) on the front of your chair, or standing… yet at the opera, characters die in bed for extended periods of time singing arias at full volume from a distinctly – although modified – prone position! There were no beds and couches in vocal music class to lie down on in order to practice this obviously required position for singing in the “real” operatic world. You just have to adapt what you learned to make it work.

Cheers & an operatic shoot to you,


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1. You Can Do Almost Anything, So Long As You Sing It
How you tell a story is what’s important. Sure there are underlying messages beneath the overall framework of the story, but how you communicate the story will determine how how entertaining it will be. You’ve heard “write what you know” and when you think about what you know it may seem a little boring… OK, take the “boring” (which you know so well) and make it interesting by how you express it.

2. The Star System Makes It Happen
Even years ago when operas were first written, Stars helped to shape the final product. Take the Romeo & Juliet opera (by Charles Gounod). As I’ve heard the tale, Gounod was commissioned to write the opera for the opera house owner (who’s wife was going to be the Star). The Star didn’t like one of her solo arias and asked for it to be rewritten. Gounod was unhappy (to say the least) about having to rewrite it, so wrote a solo aria for her that was totally different in tone from the rest of the opera – a waltz. Perhaps he hoped to embarrass her with the “unfitting” aria… but what happened instead was that that waltz aria became his most famous song. How the star system helped push him to create some of his best work!

3. A Story Is Filled Arias & Recitatives
An aria is basically a melodic song, whereas a recitative is basically sung prose. You can’t string aria after aria for an entire opera – it would be too much. You can’t have only recitatives for the entire duration either – it would be too dull. You need pacing between songs and prose. That’s the journey. When it comes to movies, I see the arias as action sequnces, or comedic moments, and recitatives as deeper moments, linking moments. And yes, the right pacing makes it work.

All the best & an operatic shoot to you!


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