Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pop. Opera... Popera!?

Over the weekend word got out that pop singer Rufus Wainwright has decided to drop plans to compose an opera for the Met. This is sad news.

Now, truth be told, I've never listened to much Rufus, preferring his sister's musical output to his own, but the idea of pop music stars writing for the opera stage excites me.

First off, as someone who loves new music, it is always exciting when a new opera is being developed. I'm also interested in seeing how pop music sensibilities carry over into opera because I think many people forget that opera was indeed the popular music of its time.

I also think having pop musicians compose an opera (provided it is good) helps earn my favorite art form some much needed "street cred" with younger audiences.

When complete (the opera will premiere next year at the Manchester International Festival regardless of the Met), Rufus will join the ranks of other pop musicians who have composed operas including The Police's drummer Stewart Copeland (Holy Blood and Crescent Moon) and The Magnetic Fields mastermind Stephin Merrit (Orphan of Zhao, Peach Blossom Fan and My Life as a Fairy Tale).

Without the Met commissioning this opera it is unknown what plans, if any, there are to bring it to the States but let us hope the premiere is a success and interest grows for this one.
- Edward

PS. For those that read the above linked news article which I have relinked here, the last paragraph also mentions another opera moving towards workshop between composer Michael Torke and director Des McAnuff. I can't let this go without mentioning Des McAnuff made his operatic directing debut with us for Wozzeck in 2007. And man, what a show that was...

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