I must admit I have reservations after listening to the snippet SF Opera provides:
Is it just me? Does Butterfly’s vibrato and intonation trouble anyone else?
Of course I will look forward to the orchestra very much. AND I’ll be enjoying the fact that I am finally attending the opera rather than playing it. (I’ve done this opera more than nearly anything else … I suspect the only one I’ve done more is La Bohème.)
Dear Oboe Reed Muse, Please shine upon me today, making my knives lethally sharp, crows magnificent, all registers in tune, low notes responsive and high high C popping out dolce. Your humble servant. KJP
There’s no such thing as background music in the movies, even the genre “silent film” is a misnomer, as live music would accompany every major (and most minor) films before the “talkies” came into existence, so by buying a ticket people were supporting live music! The same is true of the experience now in terms of how important music is to a film, I mean Darth Vader without the Imperial March is a respitorally challenged Halloween costume searching for an asthma inhaler, it’s the orchestra that makes him truly terrifying! Imagine the flying scene from Out of Africa without the music (it’s below!). Lord knows Lucas, Cameron and Spielberg understand the power and necessity of the Orchestra which they use one in every one of their films. They could endow a big part of our industry forever and barely feel it! Lord knows it helped endow them!
So my little brain just went to the movies after reading that snippet and watching that clip. I started thinking of all the movie music that has become a part of my life. There’s quite a lot! We should start a list of both the music that is now very well known that was written originally for the movies. Think, for instance, of “Gabriel’s Oboe”. Or how about all the music that made it into the movies and is more popular because of that. Think — sorry to remind you! — of Pachelbel’s Canon. Or how about Barber’s Adagio for Strings or the slow movement to Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21?
Anyone want to write up a list in the comments here? C’mon. You know you wanna! :-)
“I am intensely interested in the financial health of the arts organizations I manage and none have ever had a deficit in any year. But I have never felt that I am successful if I negotiate a contract that pays any member of my organization less rather than more. I consider it an obligation of my work to ensure that …my staff and artists are paid well and fairly.” ~Kennedy Center President, Michael Kaiser
As a classical music lover, I’d like to believe that my favourite music has some kind of magical effect on people – that it soothes the savage breast in some unique way. I’d like to think that classical music somehow inspires nobler aspirations in the mind of the purse-snatcher, causing him to abandon his line of work for something more upstanding and socially beneficial.
But I know better. The hard, cold truth is that classical music in public places is often deliberately intended to make certain kinds of people feel unwelcome. Its use has been described as “musical bug spray,” and as the “weaponization” of classical music. At the Bathurst Street Subway Station, the choice of music conveys a clear message: “Move along quickly and peacefully, people; this is not your cultural space.”
Some sociologists have expressed concern that this particular use of classical music only serves to further divide society along lines of age, class and ethnicity. And, not surprisingly, some in the classical music community are offended by this new purpose for their art. The English music critic Norman Lebrecht has written that using classical music as a policing tool is “profoundly demeaning to one of the greater glories of civilization.”