Let’s talk about the opera for a minute, shall we?
I’ve been ironing out the details of the plot for the 3rd Act, as i’m scheduled to begin composition on Monday and cannot do so until all the plot details are worked out. ( i have to be clear about what is generally occurring at every second of the music. I can’t just vamp for 20 minutes and fill it in later.) I had a stumbling block with the plot that i resolved by the idea of creating a youth subculture. This is fun because i get to write a song that one of them sings, which will be in the genre of music they’re all into, which of course i get to make up.
So here’s the trick: The audience will already know that there is a proliferation of Dolls, that is to say dead people brought back and put into life sized mannequins with limited movement who’s only method of sound is that they pick up random songs broadcasting on the radio (still a very new invention).
Here’s what a i want the audience to get:
1. the subculture is based around a stylistic mimicry and adoration of the Dolls.
2. The Dolls are emotionally distant, seemingly unaffected by most things, and of course, dead. Within a certain percentage of youth, this is an irresistable combination and hence why they have used the Dolls as inspiration for their subculture.
3. The subculture is one of the only segments of the city perceptive enough to realize that the Dolls actually communicate through these random radio songs. (The choice of songs seems to express what the Doll is generally feeling. The audience will already know this but the onstage population rarely pick up on this.)
There, that’s not so much information. Now, the trick is that i need to write a song that typlifies the genre, the attitude, and gets across this information without ever actually coming out and saying anything.
The trick (well the fun actually) is to write ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ or a Cure song. Hell, even The Times They Are A Changing. What i mean is that if i play these songs to you (let’s pretend you never heard them) and tell you they exemplify a youth subculture, you’ll get it. You’ll a whole, giant picture of a subculture and I won’t have to explain much else. These songs will, on their own, give you all the information you need to create an accurate picture of a subculture, and won’t break the golden rule: the more i have to explain to you what you’re supposed to be “getting”, the more i am failing.
So, third song into the third Act i get to write a song that signifies a gothy but nevertheless nonexistent subculture, make up a genre of music that fits them aesthetically and attitude wise, and YET sounds at home in the music for the rest of the opera. And subtly gets across some information i need the audience to know without seeming like it is. And it wouldn’t hurt if there were some instrumental similarities between what these kids listen to and the song the Doll Jasper actually sings a song or 2 later. (it’s his one and only real song, at least thus far.)
So there you go. I thought i’d give a slice of what’s been going through my mind to iron out today (well, Sat. This won’t be posted until Monday) regarding the opera. I don’t expect everyone really wants to hear every little detail about every little stupid artistic decision i make, but i figure every now and then maybe this could be somewhat interesting.