11/12/14

Opera is the Art Form of the Future

Plastic Flowers, 2014

Clarice Prietto on Plastic Flowers, Rio de Janeiro, Comunidade do Vidigal, 2014.

 

Swedish journalist Jannike Ånlund, one of the smartest people I have ever met, paused on her lunch, looked at me from across the table, and asked: “Why do you dedicate so much effort to opera, when it seems to be a dying genre?” Of course my usual reply to that is “I believe opera is the art-form of the future.”

The conversation left me thinking.  Of course sometimes things that seem obvious to me may still need to be said out loud. So let’s think a bit about why opera. What is opera? What are the most common mental associations of the genre? There is a tendency to think of opera as an elitist and decadent performance genre that has nothing to do with our time, full of over-the-top singing and stiff acting. There are reasons for stereotypes, but opera is not necessarily the stereotype of opera.

I define opera as the combination of different performing arts into a live experience that is guided by a continuous dramatic musical score.

There is much that can be done within these parameters. In fact opera offers an opportunity for community engagement and dramatic ritual that may be severely needed in contemporary digital society.

New Opera offers an opportunity for much creativity from all sorts of artists and an audience experience that may not be substituted by the movies, tv or a home theater, while it may incorporate technology that is originally related to these art-forms, there is a ritual element of live performance that cannot be fully reproduced through technology alone.

New Opera offers an opportunity for community development that takes it far from the “elitist” stereotype. In its origin opera was a communal activity, it is easy to imagine small villages where half the population would be on stage and the other half in the audience. As an all embracing art-form, there is always room for someone to participate in a large production, in whatever aspect where one may feel the urge to dedicate his or her efforts.

Historically Opera is like a tree that lost its leaves during Winter, it may look dead (or dying) but come the first Spring rain and it will blossom with fresh new green magic. The 20th Century was a time of great artistic experimentation and great political conflicts, for many opera came to represent the ghost of the past. There are not many great 2oth Century operas that have become popular in the standard repertoire. This means that the accumulated innovations in music and performance arts in general offer a fresh new territory where composers, writers, scenographers, video and 3D artists, performance creators in general, not to mention singers that are avid for new relevant music and dancers who are always welcome in productions, we all have an enormous new territory to explore.

There is much that may be said about the project of an educational structure that is based on the development of new operatic repertoire.

New Opera may provide the grounds for a performance oriented educational system that offers answers to much of the challenges from the crisis on our present our school system, by creating a collaborative environment where all aspects of a production need to be put into place in a harmonious synchronicity with the music that serves as guideline for all performance aspects.

The memory of ancient rituals may be summoned today in New Opera.

When opera was first created it was part of a renascence movement to re-create Greek tragedy, but Greek tragedy itself was a re-creation of older ancient tribal rituals, where liminoid situations were induced to summon a situation beyond the rules of normal conduct. A situation that could amount to an epiphany or a mark in the maturing of individuals inside of a group. (see Victor Turner: From Ritual to Theater – the Human Seriousness of Play)

New Opera may provide a ritual space that is lacking in contemporary technological society, a space that connects the discussion of relevant conflicts with the opportunity for a transcending experience, the chance for an epiphany on a scale that may only be limited by our capacity to imagine (and to fund it.)

Our longing for a communal ritual space opens the doors to vast possibilities of sensory interaction. A longing for a time when music, theater and dance were one, a single entity in a ritual that could transcend the boundaries of social norms and create visions of what is yet to come.

A moment when music, theater and dance once again become one.

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Kristin Young sings Packing Escher, an aria from Tamanduá – a Brazilian Opera

 

 

 

 

 

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10/3/14

Um Piano No Vidigal

In September 2014 iBoc produced a staged preview of the opera Plastic Flowers at the Vidigal community in Rio de Janeiro. We needed a piano for the performances. This is a documentary of the effort to bring the piano to the theater. A tribute to all the people who work hard for an event to happen.

 

 

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08/23/14

Flores de Plástico – Prévia no Vidigal!

Flores de Plástico – Ópera estreia no  Vidigal

05 de setembro, 20h – 07 de setembro, 17h

Teatro do Vidigal

Ingressos R$20

 

Uma ópera contemporânea tem suas primeiras apresentações no teatro da comunidade do Vidigal. O piano sobe o morro e se une ao DJ e ao canto para representar uma versão contemporânea do mito de Penélope. A peça trata da crise de uma mulher que tenta preencher o vazio em sua vida com objetos de consumo. A personagem relembra amores e paixões tentando encontrar sentido em sua vida.

Flores de Plástico é um monodrama – ópera para cantor solo – de João MacDowell. Nas palavras do compositor: “Essa ópera trata de corações partidos em um universo artificial. Todos queremos amor e afeto. A realidade virtual e promessas de satisfação instantânea tendem a gerar frustração pela própria natureza da experiência.”

A personagem Penélope será interpretada pela mezzo-soprano Clarice Prietto. A cantora entrou em contato com a obra do compositor brasileiro na ocasião de sua estréia em Nova York em 2012. Clarice, que também assina a direção geral, tem uma história que aposta em criações originais e ousadas, como sua versão de Carmem – Ópera Flamenca de 2013, sucesso de público, comprovando a relevância e atualidade do gênero.

O espetáculo junta um time de peso: direção cênica do Dzi Croquette Bayard Tonelli, produção e projeto cenográfico de Sheyla de Castilho, videocenografia de Cila MacDowell, escultura de Marina Vergara e programação visual de Cynthia Tello. Acompanham os músicos: Maria Luisa Lundberg (piano) e Leo Brunno (teclados, sonoplastia e DJ).

As apresentações acontecem no Teatro do Vidigal, que pertence ao grupo Nós do Morro, dias 05 e 07 de setembro, ganham reforço de piano de cauda gentilmente cedido pela Casa Pierre Pianos. A cantora e o compositor estarão disponíveis para debate com a imprensa e o público após as performances.

 

O Teatro do Vidigal fica na Rua Dr. Olinto de Magalhaes, 16. Ao chegar no Vidigal, suba a rua principal e entre na primeira à direita, você verá a entrada logo ao lado da Escola Almirante Tamandaré.

Flores de Plastico - estrelando Clarice Prietto

Flores de Plastico – estrelando Clarice Prietto

 

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07/7/14

Cries And Whispers, the opera, on Swedish TV

Bergmans “Viskningar och rop” blir opera

STV Image 1a

STV

Read full article Here.

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06/26/14

Cries and Whispers on Swedish Radio Culture News: Kulturnytt.

First news about “Cries and Whispers” (Viskningar och Rop) on Swedish Radio Culture News: Kulturnytt. Looking forward to this partnership with director Håkan Lindhé

Read the interview: Kulturnytt.

 

 


Featuring Maestro Néviton Barros, singers Shana GrossmanAlexandra Filipe and Brooke Larimer. Instrumentalists: YinJia LinUka Gameiro,Rachel ScarpatiJulia Kost and Luigi Porto.

 

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06/18/14

Tamanduá Receives BMO Merit Award

Boston Metropolitan Opera

BMO Merit Award

This award recognizes works that demonstrate unusual content, a unique voice, and/or distinctive compositional talent.

Recipient works will receive performances, as part of Boston Metro Opera’s regular season. 

 

Tamanduá by João MacDowell

Tamanduá by João MacDowell

 

Boston Metropolitan Opera: The Boston International Contempo Festival.

General Director: Christopher A Smith

 

More info about Tamanduá – A Brazilian Opera

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05/31/14

Residency at the Bergman Estate on Fårö

Here is a video of a concert preview of “Cries and Whispers”, the opera (Viskningar och rop – Gritos e Sussurros).

Thanks to this new work I will be spending the month of July as a resident artist in the Ingmar Bergman Estate in the island of Fårö, Sweden.

 

For the next month I will be pretty isolated. No internet or cell phone. Maybe an occasional email. If you need to reach me, please be patient.

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05/14/14

FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil – ESPN soundtrack

Yesterday we got final approval for the ESPN soundtrack for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Here is a little sample of it. This is the first of ten instrumental cues that I wrote for the event, to be broadcast to 61 countries.

Ontem fechei a trilha pra transmissão da ESPN da Copa do Mundo. Aqui está um baiãozinho.

Featuring:
James Strauss on flute
Uka Gameiro on percussion
Luigi Porto as recording engineer
Maxim Laskavy as mixing engineer

Thank you:
toJose Flores and Paulo Paulista who had me in their homes while I wrote all of the music and to Gabriel Nava Rodrigues and Athena Azevedo for the invaluable support and feedback.

https://soundcloud.com/joaomacdowell/01-happy-baiao-fifa-world-cup-2014-espn-broadcast

 

Listen to More tracks at the ESPN FIFA World Cup Soundtrack page.

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04/16/14

Correio Brasiliense – last Sunday

Correio Brasiliense - JoaoMacDowell copy

Joao MacDowell’ music, from punk rock to bossa nova to classical and opera. Now receives support from the Ingmar Bergman Estate in Sweden.

Download PDF version: Correio Brasiliense – JoaoMacDowell

 

Correio Popular – Campinas 04/10/2014:

Correio Popular - Rompendo Barreiras - Joao MacDowell - 04-10-2014

Joao MacDowell’s music: breaking barriers between genres with new Symphony.

 

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04/7/14

This week: Orquestra Sinfônica da UniCamp

 

I am very happy to be in Campinas this week for performances of my Symphony n.1 – Um Sonho Brasileiro.

The Orquestra Sinfônica da UniCamp is a professional orquestra dedicated to the performance of works documented by the CIDDIC (Centro de Integração Documentação e Difusão Cultural da UniCamp.) The institution has received a number of prizes for being the most relevant collections of Brazilian Contemporary Music in the world today. The OSUC is notorious for bringing to life new work of living composers in virtuosic ensemble performances.

I can say that these musicians are truly passionate about their job and conductor Cinthia Alirete brings a powerful and knowledgeable interpretation out of the group.

 

• 09/04 no Teatro Castro Mendes em Campinas – 20hs

• 10/04 na Casa do Lago (Unicamp). 19hs

Campinas, São Paulo – Brazil

Please let your friends from Sao Paulo know about this.

 

Today in the press:

G1 – Globo

Jornal de Campinas

Campinas.com.br

Jornal de Vinhedo

Carta Campinas

Shows Campinas

Entre Sons

Destak Jornal

Kleber Patricio

Canal 8

Metro Brasil – Campinas 

Correio Popular

Screenshot 2014-04-07 09.33.29

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