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(RedOrbit)   Computerized music coming to the opera. No word on ecstacy, glowsticks   ( divider line
    More: Interesting  
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2348 clicks; posted to Main » on 06 Aug 2003 at 12:24 PM (13 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

124 Comments     (+0 »)

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2003-08-06 12:27:32 PM  
It's been done:
[image from too old to be available]
2003-08-06 12:28:04 PM  
I got yer French Horn Right HERE!!!
2003-08-06 12:29:36 PM  
"It's not over until the Fat Server crashes."
/Yogi Berra, Version 2.0
2003-08-06 12:30:05 PM  
<-------- She can be the phantom of my opera anytime...
2003-08-06 12:31:36 PM  
Opera would be ruined by this travesty. Computerized Orchestras are an IDIOTIC IDEA. What if the singer screws up? Then EVERYTHING screws up. Opera was designed for humans, not machines!
2003-08-06 12:31:46 PM  
ahah glowsticks and kids trying to dance that have ZERO rhythm make me laugh hard.

back on topic: kinda ruins the idea of opera for those attending.. but i guess like most things in life, its trying to progress.
now wheres my g-spot again?
2003-08-06 12:31:46 PM  
Does this mean 'Cats' will finally be coming back?
2003-08-06 12:32:08 PM  
2003-08-06 12:33:09 PM  
Have you seen my Puccini?
2003-08-06 12:34:41 PM  
The same fear mongering tactics were employed in LA when synthsizers were the perceived threat in the early 80s. Then in the early 90s, the British musician's union tried to cap the earnings of keyboardists/synthesists to that of a violinist. Neither attempt worked.

It was discovered that if a real orchestra was necessary (i.e. for film scores, big budget shows, etc.), a real orchestra was hired.

It was also discovered that when an orchestra was replaced by technology, an orchestra couldn't have been employed in the first place due to lack of money.

In short, musicians who can't keep up with technology are whining like school girls with scratched nail polish, and are basically hammering nails with their fists.
2003-08-06 12:34:48 PM  
Opera is a free enterprise. The union should stay out of it. Let them put on their show and see if anyone wants to pay to see it.

If the patrons don't care about live music so be it. Times change and automation eliminates jobs.
2003-08-06 12:34:54 PM  
my tuba is blue screening.
2003-08-06 12:35:29 PM  
This is a surprise? We've been slowing heading this way for about a decade now, as electronica has been creeping into classical music. Look at Bond or Opera Babes. Although I honestly expected someone to first try to integrate electronics into the orchestra, rather than replacing it outright.

I don't see this as a huge problem. Mounting an opera is a pretty expensive production, normally. This would allow a lot of smaller opera houses to start up, and potentially spread the appeal of classical music. It would never be a replacement - once people heard a few this way, they'd undoubtedly want to go to a real live performance. And it's NOT going to put people out of jobs, just allow new companies to emerge that wouldn't exist at all otherwise.
2003-08-06 12:37:03 PM  
IE, in the long run, this has the potential to BOOST opera revenue by bringing in new fans for cheap.
2003-08-06 12:38:58 PM  
I wondered what the big deal was...then I read further down into the article. Unions. I shouldn't have been surprised.

Rincewind, you do know there are such things as keyboards that allow operators to give input to their computers? Such as "back up, start again"?

It's irrelevant anyway - Opera as an art form made the decision some time back to exclude just about everyone. Not surprising, given its origin as a social opportunity for the European nobility. The nobility was a pestilence on humanity the likes of which make Jeff Skilling, Bill Gates, Ken Lay, and other corporate tyrants literally look like children.
2003-08-06 12:39:09 PM  
Does the RIAA know?
2003-08-06 12:40:48 PM  
Craig Armstrong's "As if to Nothing" is a fine example of how to combine electronic and orchestral instruments.

As for unions and all of that. . . I hope that large companies don't switch over to synthorchestras. There is nothing like the sound of the real deal. However, smaller companies coudl benefit from the thechnology.
2003-08-06 12:42:00 PM  
"I slowly rubbed my puccini against her bellini. She gasped. She had never felt a puccini like mine before"
2003-08-06 12:42:26 PM  
Wizard, I'm afraid I don't really agree with you on this. While it might have the potential to draw some new fans to an art form that, while being one of the greatest art forms of all times, is sadly losing popularity, it would also repulse many people who would not like the sound and never come back.
And nobody should say that opera is only for elitist. You can go to the Metropolitan Opera in NYC for less than the cost of two movie tickets. A seat at the back of the Met Opera is approx. 25 dollars, while a standing room ticket is about 15-16, with the opportunity to grab any empty seats.
2003-08-06 12:43:19 PM  
Who wants to go rAvIn @ the sYmPhOnY???

Bah.. that gave me a headache typing like that.
2003-08-06 12:43:29 PM  
Whoops. Correction "And nobody should say that opera is only for elitists"
2003-08-06 12:44:08 PM  
Fark that. What we really need is more Moog. More MOOG DAMMIT.

[image from too old to be available]
2003-08-06 12:44:18 PM  
By the way (as if anyone is interested), I destroyed both my US and UK union cards due to this sort of jackboot tactic. It seems that the union has a greater interest in the livelihood of violinists than the music community as a whole.
2003-08-06 12:46:32 PM  
That goes for you Gromky. Opera is in no way, shape, or form discriminating against anyone. Opera used to be something that anyone wold go to. It was like the movies, only better. Opera has always been for everyone. Most Verdi operas were written for the populace to see, along with almost all light opera and operettas. Only very little opera, like Tanhauser, Parsifal, Les Troyens, and other serious operas, is inaccesible to many people because it requires a background in opera. Opera will never be only for the privleged.
2003-08-06 12:46:40 PM  
Synthesized orchestral music sucks. Therefore, it will become popular. Live performance classical music will be perceived as 'elitist' because it is elite. Nothing changes.
2003-08-06 12:47:33 PM  

I found 'As If To Nothing' rather dull. Have you heard Rob Dougan's Furious Angels? Now that has a lot of great stuff. And if you're in North America, our version of it has a bonus CD of the orchestral versions of the songs. (given that a lot of people don't like Dougan's singing style, it's a real godsend and makes it a lot easier for someone to like the album)
2003-08-06 12:47:54 PM  
Is the opera now packed with sweaty shiatheads who think they're original because they pierce their butthole and stretch out their cockhole?

Why do ravers think they're part of an exclusive layer of society? Bopping around to repetitious, derivative music, with your hair dyed pink does not make you original. It makes you a follower of the latest "cool, underground" trend.

/Talking about suburban Canadian ravers. Realizes UK ravers are less impressed with themselves.
2003-08-06 12:48:45 PM  
It's only been in the last 50-60 years, since the rise of rock n' roll, that opera has been seen as elitist. While I am a fan of both genres, and am a middle class person, with very little pocket cash, I would prefer to see an opera for 15 more, than go see a movie.
2003-08-06 12:49:59 PM  
great headline!
2003-08-06 12:50:01 PM  
I agree with you about Furious Angels. That is a very good song, and coincidentally, EXACTLY what I'm listening to right now. Rob D does a great job of blending classical instruments and modern beats.
2003-08-06 12:50:43 PM  
I've never been as big of a fan of opera as I have been of just the regular (if you can call classical music regular) stuff.

I'm definately a fan of well played string instruments. Wish I would have had some lessons when my brain was moldable.
2003-08-06 12:51:15 PM  
Rob D... didn't he have a song on Matrix soundtrack called "Clubbed to Death?" It had a two minute piano solo in the middle. Sucked.
2003-08-06 12:51:28 PM  

I guess my essential point boils down to, I don't see how this could do any real harm, and it has the *potential* to help. I think most people not inherently familiar with orchestral music are tolerant of electronic music. I'm sure there would be a few dumb enough to think, "this sounds like ass! I hate opera!" but most would either get what the attempt was doing, or if they like the basic material, be interested enough to check out a real performance. (either from a full Opera House or on CD)

I have no idea if this venture will succeed or not, but I see no reason to decry it or say it's a bad idea that should be stopped. Let the guy try. He might make money, but if he doesn't, he won't take anyone else down with him. (unless, I suppose, the Unions decide to be REAL jerks and blacklist people that perform in his shows, but that's hardly his responsibility)
2003-08-06 12:52:52 PM  
Good call, Rincewind53. Try the full album if you don't have it already. Great stuff.
2003-08-06 12:53:10 PM  
Has anyone else pointed out to them that opera is culturally irrelevant?

As in, "no longer a major influence on any aspect of our culture." Opera has fallen into the same trap that musical theater has: it's too expensive to produce unless you are rehashing/ beating the shiat out of one of the greats: Magic Flute, Barber of Seville, etc. Every season it's the same while the core audience gets older and dies off.

Maybe in Europe it will scrabble for survival, but the mass Americanization is unstoppable.

/can't wait for ballet to finally die off
2003-08-06 12:53:50 PM  
I see your point Wizard, and I concede the argument in your favor. You're probably right on this thing, though I think it won't succeed.
2003-08-06 12:55:40 PM  
Nobody should say that opera is only for elitists? Hello, opera is the original elitist art form! In one sentence, it's said that opera should not draw in new customers, because it would alienate the existing (elitist) customer base. In the next sentence, an opera house located in New York City is offered as a solution! Oh, the humanity!

Face it, opera is elitist, and opera fans like it that way. What's a guaranteed way to convey how superior and upper-class you are? Drop a casual reference to "the opera" into your conversation and watch people gasp at your sophistication. The sound of opera reminds most people of fingernails on a blackboard, or a family pet dying a violent death. The intentional obfuscation of the lyrics into alien languages doesn't help one bit.

Most telling, though, is the lack of comments by farkers on this thread.
2003-08-06 12:56:42 PM  
well.. the funny thing is that if the unions continue to fight the technology it will be themselves they hurt. They already can make fairly convincing CGI humans, it won't be long untill a production company faced with threats of an actor/performer strike could simply opt for an entirely computerized performance, all they would need is someone to lip-synch the digitized voice...untill they can build robots that can keep their balance... and somehow i doubt there would be many actors and performers who would be able to make the transition to programmer/operator
2003-08-06 12:56:51 PM  
Uglycicles - WANT DAT! WANT DAT!!! Whose is that, and would they be willing to sell it - er, give it away to an impoverished but devoted analog fan?? 8-D

Wouldn't glowsticks and such get concert hall owners busted under the RAVE act? (to say nothing of actual X, of course)

On-topic part: I think the market will decide where and how much electronic music it wants in opera. Psycho_Inductive has a point - this could put opera within reach of more people (full orchestras and the facilities that they require can get expensive), which would certainly be a good thing for opera's overall fortunes. As for Githerax's rather shallow comment, people said the same thing about Mozart and Verdi back in the day - tastes and standards are human constructs, and they change...
2003-08-06 12:57:25 PM  
To SockMonkey

Actually, statistics have shown that both classical music and opera have taken a rise in popularity among young people lately. While this may not be a trend, let's hope that it is. And I agree that while many opera companies just rehash the greats, there are many opera companies that find operas that have not been preformed recently purely because they have fallen out of fashion. The Met Opera recently brought back Mefistofeles, which is a wonderful opera, but hadn't been preformed there for about 60 years. There's also a whole lot of french opera that is out of fashion these days, but remains fantastic.
2003-08-06 01:00:31 PM  

The point, however, is that Opera originally WASN'T elitist. Just like Shakespeare wasn't. Hell, in the Glory Days, some opera houses were informal brothels. If you liked the singer enough, you had a chance to oralize with her one-on-one. This is just an attempt to bring Opera back to the people. (although I honestly think crossover efforts like The Opera Babes (good album) have a better chance of succeeding.)
If someone likes opera simply BECAUSE it's elitist, then they should be scorned, not catered to.
2003-08-06 01:11:14 PM  
Quick, someone post a screen-cap of The Cheat's lightswitch rave. :p
2003-08-06 01:13:12 PM  
This has nothing to do with the striking orchestral musicians... yet another instance of jobs being erased by "progress."

/didn't read the article yet, but I heard about it on NPR.
2003-08-06 01:17:10 PM  
gromky said, "The intentional obfuscation of the lyrics into alien languages doesn't help one bit."

Operas were usually written in the language of the composer. Mozart wrote operas in German, which (at least from what Amadeus tells me) riled authorities since it wasn't in that pleasant sounding language, Italian.

BTW, I just got "Opera's Greatest Drinking Songs". The Rigoletto track is great.
2003-08-06 01:22:51 PM  
Wendy Carlos' score for A Clockwork Orange was incredible. She also did the music for Tron. Her covers of classical music on The Well-Tempered synthesizer are pretty cool.

More Moog, Arp, Korg and Roland please.
2003-08-06 01:26:44 PM  
It may be on the rise, but at what cost? Yet another symphonic Metallica? Another salute to John Williams? Most theater and opera companies play safe with more tired revivals or they have multimedia spectacle blowouts in some lame-ass attempt at competing with TV. I still have a bad taste in my mouth from a horribly over-the-top version of Macbeth I saw two years ago where the special effects were the stars.

I would love to believe that they are both on the rise, but, having gone to several performances of the Philadelphia Philharmonic, I can't say that I believe it. I do think it's wonderful that some opera companies are rediscovering old greats, but it may be too little too late. I still believe that, in america, opera and classical music have little relevance to the cultural mainstream. Without some kind of growth, both art forms will be relegated to the 'elitists'.
2003-08-06 01:32:30 PM  
Snuh I concur. Wendy's music is great. She digifies the classic Dies Irae them in the opening of The Shining to great effect. Her Switched-On Bach disc is great. It also was the first platinum-selling classical album. (pretty sure on that last part.)
2003-08-06 01:32:49 PM  
[image from too old to be available]

[image from too old to be available]
2003-08-06 01:37:19 PM  
My beliefs are this: There is no way that computers can replace live musicians because no computer can do anything more with music than just play the notes. It takes a human to convey the meaning behind the notes. An opera performed by humans can have passion, excitement, sadness, joy, love, and hate, which are all emotions that a computer cannot produce. I know that it'll be controlled by humans, but have you ever heard a synthesized brass section? THAT is what sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard, or a pet being murdered. Live music lives and breaths musicality. Computers will never have musicality. ever.
2003-08-06 01:40:17 PM  
has no one noticed that music has become more of a moneymaking scam than an art form? people will always be afraid of and protest things that they don't understand. computerized music will never replace live orchestra and it's foolish to think so. it seems that everyone from the artists to the RIAA are more interested in how much money they can make instead of making the consumers happy.
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