Operatic Broadway – Blurring the Lines Has Precedent. A number of modern musicals cross over into operatic territory. Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work. It combines text (libretto) and musical score. Opera usiually has usually in a theatrical setting. Singers do two types of singing: recitative, a speech-inflected style . The second are arias, a more melodic style. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance. Traditionally, it is sung all the way through. Musical theater, on the other hand has featured songs. However, most of its book is spoken. Recently there has been more and more cross over between opera and musical theater. They include Rent, Les Mis and The Phantom of the Opera.
Blurring Musical Vocal Boundaries Has a Romantic Precedent
The oratorio dates back to the 1500’s. It reached a climax under hand of Handel. The Romantic movement of the 19th century revived his ideals. Like Handel, with the Romantic composers, half were written in a Biblical or religious vein. The other half was secular or historical. There was only one difference: Handle’s historical oratorios were limited to either classical Greek or ancient. Handel examples include Hercules, Semele, “Alexander’s Feast”, or Alceste. Romantic oratorios had a broader scope. Instrumental works took on more significance. Here are a couple of examples:
- Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet is somewhere between a symphony and a cantata.
- The Damnation of Faust, Op. 24 is a work for four solo voices, full seven-part chorus, large children’s chorus and orchestra by the French composer Hector Berlioz. He called it a “légende dramatique” (dramatic legend). It was first performed at the Opéra-Comique in Paris on 6 December 1846. It has been seen as a symphony, oratorio or opera.
Operatic Broadway is Simply Following in this Precedent of Mixed Tradition
I, blogger David, have been the composer of three such works, My book-writer lyricist has been my wife Sharon Lesley Ohrenstein. Check out the internal link above for some quite exciting live examples. Sharon plays Cleopatra. Contact us on DSOworks@gmail.com if you are interested in our up and coming works. We need a new sound for the new times we are entering. This translates into meaningful income.
The youtube example below sets up our Operatic Broadway show.
“Octavian & Cleopatra” Imagine an operatic work that pours out incredible melodies, mesmerizes …