I am starting this blog in order to declare my intention to make a Steampunk Opera and to document the process.
Hi. My name is Paul Shapera and I make music under the name Mocha Lab. I will be posting many selections of my work to date so that you can get an idea of what kind of composer/music producer I am as well as other great artists whose music falls within range of this project. I’ll post on the process and details of putting a theater show up (in London, although i myself am American currently living in Eastern Europe) from the first intention to create it to the opening performance (and Gd forbid beyond).
A theater director in London, Mark Swetz, asked me about doing an opera or some other show that I might be interesting in composing. Sadly, I can’t stand opera. I like much of the orchestration, and I like the male crescendos, but in general the entire style of singing drives me beserk.
I am thoroughly well versed in musical theater, but about 10 years ago I had the realization that I couldn’t stand it anymore. Sondheim can still work for me and I have a very soft spot for a few musicals I listened to when I was young, but you know… once again the style of singing and corniness just drives me nuts. (If, however, i had to list my 3 top musicals, they’d be Into The Woods, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Les Miserables. So there you go.) I have made several theater shows, including and especially the multi-media show The Fallen which is also on it’s way to be put up in the states, but we’ll get into that another day.
I whimsically thought about a steampunk opera, in which I would create a new genre, building heavily off of the Dark Cabaret movement (Dresden Dolls, Birdeatsbaby, Jill Tracy, Vermillion Lies… most of which I must confess I only discovered once I decided to write this opera. Actually all I knew was Dresden Dolls, of which I’ve been a big fan. Discovering and exploring a new genre is half the fun of conceiving this). I decided to make this because after whimsically throwing the idea out, I started finding that more and more of my leisure thoughts were being spent working out ideas for the opera. When one becomes obsessed with an artistic idea without trying to, it is a clear sign you must make it. So I contacted Mark and told him i must must MUST write a steampunk opera. He gave it a big thumbs up and wait now to hear what i’m actually going to do.
I”ve worked out a plot which i’ll go into at a later date and i’m starting the blog now, because today i will be sitting down to play the first notes of music. We’re starting at the beginning, The Overture (or Prologue, depending). I like to go in order of the story.
We’ll talk later. In the meantime I leave you with a sample of another more lighthearted musical story i’ve made. This is the first track off of Cthulhu: The Funksical, by Mocha Lab of course.