Plugging in

The role that the performance space itself plays in opera and music-theater is fascinating to me. The Signature Theater, known for its “unplugged musicals” is slowly starting to go electric. The issue of amplification has been helpful in distinguishing opera from music-theater in the past decades, but lately the lines have started to blur. Musicals ditch the microphones and seem more artsy. And operas have started requiring microphones to appear to a broader audience. I guess I’m thinking mostly of the whole movie theater opera craze, but critics of new “operas” point to the lack of full vocal singing. Many of the Met’s upcoming commissions will premiere not in its enormous hall but in smaller theater-y spaces at Lincoln Center.

I’m inclined to encourage any kind of experimentation with these forms–whether its musicals daring to use all of the operatic colors and sizes of the human voice OR operas daring to use the possibilities provided by electronic sounds and amplification.

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~ by ohactually on October 8, 2008.

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