Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Future of Opera (Part 3)

Even if it’s a minority (I don't think everyone has to like Opera nor do I think it particularly suited for a mass audience the way pop music is because not everyone wants to be challenged in the same way or can be receptive of art in the same way which is fine) there is still an interest in this art form, especially because it is so detached from the musical trends of pop culture. Its seemingly limited, histrionic or antiquated mechanisms in some ways become all the more alluring because they present a challenge to our very modern and (in many ways) conformist ( would even say intellectually lazy) eyes and ears.
I don't know about you dear reader but I am certainly up for a challenge and always will be, especially in the age of snuggies fast food and auto tune.

Certainly, if anything is to survive, some alterations need to be made in order to adapt to the new and the now.  The use of technology and new media is surely one way of achieving this. Granted, Opera is not very receptive of trends, especially if they pose the threat being detrimental to the art form (such as the use of amplification) yet this is beginning to change.  In 2007 the Met began transmitting live, high-definition performances to theaters around the world via satellite and now other theaters have followed in their footsteps. (A more in-depth analysis of this will be provided in a later post). Entities like YouTube and live streaming media are two mediums that have become central to the growing trend of viewer globalization, accessibility and even performance standards. Because people are able to share archived performances and interpretations of a given work instantly this affects today's performance standards and overall expectations. This in turn forces companies and their respective artists to find lucrative ways to present themselves and their art form in order to reach new audiences.  Below is an excerpt from a performance by the YouTube Symphony Orchestra and the current American leading Soprano, Renee Fleming who sings an (acapella!) rendition of Mozart's "Caro Bel Idol Mio". Riveting stuff and pretty daring I might add:

So at least from my perspective Opera as with any art that is based on live performance has a pretty "bright" future ahead, especially with the implementation of cutting edge-technology such as this:

The 3D-mapping technology shown above will be used for the first time (ever) in the Met's new productions of Wagner's Ring Cycle directed by Robert Lepage.
Like I said in my first post, I am all for innovation in the arts and even if in later decades this experience is no longer classified as Opera or classical music, it is still some form of representational (and even non-representational) art that when performed effectively will always have a respective audience.

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