Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A New Opera

I'm proud to announce that I've started in earnest on my second opera!  It will be called "Heart Mountain" and, like my first opera, "Mata Hari," it will be an original story based around historical events.

What about the first opera, you ask?  Well, it seems I was a little too ambitious with that one.  It's a big three-act production with lots of roles, a chorus, and a big orchestra in the pit and no opera company wanted to/was able to risk the expense for a brand-new, untested opera.  Their loss.

So I've planned this new opera to be the complete opposite in nearly every way:

Mata Hari: 4 main roles, 6 minor roles, plus a chorus (20 singers total)
Heart Mountain: 4 singers total

Mata Hari: 35 to 40-piece orchestra in the pit
Heart Mountain: Piano, 'Cello, Clarinet, all on stage with the singers

Mata Hari: Three acts, two hours
Heart Mountain: One act, 60 minutes (80 tops)

Mata Hari: Three sets
Heart Mountain: A wall.  Otherwise, no sets.

Mata Hari: Declamatory style, with singing throughout. Basically a sung play.
Heart Mountain: A "number" opera with some talking between songs. The same idea as "The Magic Flute"

My idea is to make it as economical as possible, with only eight to ten people involved: four singers, three musicians, a director, and one or two technical personnel to handle lighting and stage manage.  I'm writing the clarinet part for myself and it's possible that one of the singers or musicians could direct.  Or the director could be a stagehand.  It's something we could bring to schools or to the Cincinnati Fringe Festival in a few years. My hope is that Heart Mountain will open some doors that will lead to Mata Hari getting produced.

So far, I've done a lot of research, created the story, planned everything in an outline, and have written the introduction music and one of the songs.  Instead of polishing the libretto and then adding music like I did with Mata Hari, I'm going to write the music and lyrics together, letting one inform the other as I go.  I've only just begun and I'm a long way from finishing, but the first steps in a very long journey are laid out and I'm on my way!

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