For thirty-five years I’ve maintained that the classic works of the American Musical Theater are fit to be in the repertoire of opera houses. In many ways they ARE our opera. Many were composed for “legit,” unamplified voices, with sizable choruses, orchestras and dancers.
Ah, the arguments I’ve heard about this, along with “what makes it an opera?” arguments.
Me? I wish we could do some Sondheim here in Opera San José, being the Sondheim fan that I am, and yes, I’d love to do the other musicals Mr. Gockley mentions as well. (Gee, the last — and only! — time I’m played Showboat was about thirty-five years ago. I remember it specifically because I was only subbing two shows for someone and on my way to the first show someone ran a red light in front of me, my car was totalled and my oboe unplayable.) I’ve always thought a summer series of some of the American musical theater classics would be so darn cool. Okay, selfishly, this would also mean I finally get some summer work, since I’m mostly unemployed all summer long and it gets rather difficult both financially and emotionally! When I’m not playing at all I start to wonder if I’m really a musician.
Gabriel Urbain Fauré: Cantique de Jean Racine
The Holland Boys Choir
To our very high Lord our only hope
This eternal day of the earth and of the night
Saviour we are breaking the divine silence
Saviour direct your divine sight on us
Spread on us the fire of your powerful grace,
so that all evil disappears at the sound of your voice.
God wakes up the languished soul from his sleep
Christ be kind to your people
Receive their songs as a gift to your immortal glory
And the people shall receive peace in return.
When I was a kid my parents usually had one of the two (!) classical music radio stations on. (Now we don’t have even one where I live.) If there was a trumpet soloist you could pretty much guarantee you were going to hear that it was Maurice André.