Saturday, May 21, 2011

News flash about FLORA

The series of blogs about my latest piece for the Ricciotti Ensemble is interrupted to bring you some important news about my new eighteenth-century opera, Flora. Yesterday (Friday 20 May) the piece was featured on NPR's "World of Opera." Tyler Duncan (a.k.a. Tom Friendly) alerted me to the broadcast, which has caused a bit of a stir on Facebook and also in my Email inbox. Check it out:

There is a nice written piece about the work, and a link to the "hit single" (Tom Friendly's ballad at the country fair, which Tyler sings very, very well, with the able assistance of Zachary Stains, Philip Cokorinos and the Westminster chorus). There is also a link to a virtually complete performance, audio only. I have a DVD of one of the dress rehearsals, but the posted NPR link is something much better. No visuals, alas, but all of the dialogue is crystal-clear and the balance between singers and instruments is excellent, over all (though occasionally I would prefer more orchestra sound). The editors did not include the final dance music (too much floor noise, I'm sure), and there is a bit of trimming here and there to eliminate an awkward spot, tighten laughter or applause, etc. But this just makes the piece flow better, in the absence of any visual stimulus.

One great thing about this version is that all of the naughty dialogue comes through. A real plus.

Let me know what you think. Can you follow the story? Do you understand the double entendre? Is the Somerset dialect comprehensible? (Make that “Zomerzet.”)

If you wonder what “new eighteenth century opera” might mean, watch for future blogs about this, my most recent work for the musical stage. Flora, by the way, is really a ballad opera turned into an opera (more or less), and its full title is Flora: An Opera. The title of the 1728 original is Flora, or, Hob in the Well. These are all matters for further discussion at another time.

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