12. May 2008 · Comments Off on Noise Today & Other Ramblings · Categories: Musical Theatre, Ramble, Symphony · Tags:

The neighbors are getting a new roof today. I thought it was noisy on Friday, when they were doing some prep work. Compared to today, Friday was nothing. So I suppose I can be extremely grateful that I have two rehearsals for “Beauty and the Beast” today. Even though the thing is a chop buster and a reed eater. (Quick! Send reeds!)

Yesterday was the killer day, and by 10:50 PM I was dead. Alas, the conductor did want to use up all our time. They are paying us, after all, so I do understand. I just was rather out of it. And so were my reeds.

At the symphony concert they had roses and chocolates for all the moms. In the audience. Seems to me the orchestra moms could be given these things as well. Yeah, we are paid, so I suppose I should shut up … but I think, too, that the audience would love seeing how many mothers are on that stage (although this concert featured a smaller orchestra than last year’s, so it would look quite as MomFull™). I thought, too, that at Thursday’s concert, which was celebrating SJSU in some sort of way, those of us who attended SJSU could have been asked to stand; it seems to me that the SJSU folks would love to take credit for that. Or something.

But heck, I’m still exhausted from yesterday and I’m sure I’m not thinking clearly … what do I know?

I’ve blogged about this before, I’m sure (I’m too lazy to check right now). But what does make an opera? What makes a musical? I would never call Oklahoma! an opera, and I would never call Turandot a musical. But what about A Little Night Music or Street Scene? Do tell!

One blogger is quite clear that Porgy and Bess is not an opera. Period. Another writer calls Carmina Burana a pop opera.

Years ago I heard a rather snooty sounding man say opera doesn’t use amplification and musical theatre does. (This was back when Luhrmann’s La Boheme was being done, and he was clearly aiming his shots at that.) Others say it has to do with the moving of the story line … something about how the song or aria stops time or causes the story line to progress … something like that, anyway. Some might say it just has to do with the quality of the writing, but of course that gets mighty subjective.

One thing I have noticed is that musical theatre is much more likely to alter instrumentation … somehow instrumentation doesn’t matter to MT folks nearly as much as it does to the opera people. (It matters to me!)

And then there’s “what ruins an opera?” I think the following, which I just read about here, would do it for me:

Five years ago in Berlin, San Diego Opera’s Ian Campbell attended a controversial new version of Puccini’s “Turandot” that had French soprano Sylvie Valayre emerging from the stomach of an enormous teddy bear and the tenor using a giant cell phone to punch in the answers to the opera’s riddles.

Well. Okay then.


I’m not the only one who asks things like this. I just read this:

Is Street Scene a Broadway musical? Or is it an opera? Or is it a synthesis of the two?
“It’s definitely an interesting question when it comes to Weill and his place in the musical world,” Shell said. “As far as the production is concerned, we just stay true to what he intended.”
That varies from scene to scene.
“Weill purposely did things within the first act to hook the people who were interested in opera to come to see a Broadway musical,” Shell said.
“And he gave the Broadway crowd something they could understand and appreciate in the first act.
“It moves more toward real opera in the second act. The second act is much shorter, but it’s much more operatic in construct as well as in the music. He was purposely trying to ease everybody into what he thinks musical drama would ultimately be.”
By “opera,” Shell meant music that “furthers the drama” or music in which “the musical themes take precedence and they start to make comments on the story, as opposed it just being some arbitrary accompaniment of singing.”