Tuning the Concert

Gold Arts Award Portfolio

New Generation, New ideas June 18, 2010

Filed under: 1D: issues — concerttuning @ 7:11 pm
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The more I research into the issue, the more I discover people and organisations who want to change the face of classical music.

I was recently speaking to a masters graduate of the Royal Academy of Music. The cellist wants to combine her love of opera and chamber music into a new music genre. As well as being a collaborative process between librettist, composer, string quartet and singer, the mini-opera would be less costly making it more feasible to stage in a variety of venues.

The idea is that a story would drive through the whole piece with instrumentalists taking the role of singers. This is an example of adding meaning to the music beyond that of abstract patterns, which would give the audience something to follow while listening to the piece.

If successful, this could be a way to help listeners stay engaged throughout a piece of classical music. While they may not be able to follow the musical narrative, they could latch onto the written narrative which in turn would hopefully enlighten their whole experience of the mini-opera.

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An Alternative Way: Open air live screening June 9, 2010

Filed under: 1C: Reviews — concerttuning @ 4:54 pm
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Last night I attended a FREE screening of Carmen at Trafalgar Square broadcasted from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. This screening as well as those in cinemas across the country are an example of an alternative way to present classical music.

This was my third year running to attend these events and I took the opportunity to bring friends along. As their website  (http://www.roh.org.uk/whatson/bpbigscreens/index.aspx) says:

“The BP Summer Big Screens are the perfect way to introduce friends and family to the Royal Opera House and to world-class opera and ballet.”

The experience is very different from that of attending an opera in the auditorium. While the screen looked pixellated at times, if sitting at the back of the Opera House, you wouldn’t be able to see these details anyway.

  • Flexibility of length – though the opera is very long you could choose how much you watched. My friend came only for the first half, as she had to go back to revision.
  • You can have a picnic during the performance
  • You are in the open air (for better or worse!). Lends a bit of risk and uncertainly to the event.
  • There is a community feel amongst the audience – especially helped by the mass choir sing-a-long beforehand.
  • Presenter and behind the scenes footage about the Royal Opera House.
  • Informal seating¬† – you can come in any size party and don’t have to book beforehand.

Gareth Malone, noted the rapture of the audience. It was surprising how entranced everyone sat watching the opera with very few people chatting throughout the opera. Perhaps we have a better attention span than thought or was the audience used to watching opera? There were certainly some good singers amongst us!