OK, So What Is “New Music Theater”?

In a self-post appended to my previous blog on Vachel Lindsay, I corrected myself for stating that performance art necessarily involved music. What, then, do we call performance art with music? (Or musical theater presented in a gallery, or conceptual art with underscoring presented on a proscenium stage?) “New music theater,” say some observers, to distinguish it from older musical theater hybrids like Mozartean singspiel, Weillian Broadway musicals, or even modernism like Pierrot Lunaire; in other words, new music theater is “postmodernism” as distinct from the “modernism” of Schoenberg. If it’s been produced at the Avignon Festival, the Munich Biennale, or the various Fringe Festivals from Edinburgh to New York, chances are it’s not opera or music theater but “new music theater.”

Still confused? Fear not. Restorative understanding is coming in a book to be published by Oxford in 2008, tentatively entitled Seeing the Voice, Hearing the Body: The New Music Theater. Its authors, Eric Salzman and Thomas Dezsy, have scoured every horizon to define once and for all the DNA of NMT. Salzman has, since the 1960s, been both a composer of new music theater (recent works include The True Last Words of Dutch Schultz and Jukebox in the Tavern of Love) and a producer (the American Music Theatre Festival in Philadelphia in the 1980s and 1990s). I recently looked at galleys of this much-needed book, which covers the ground worldwide from American hobo Harry Partch to South Asian Kathakali to Sylvano Bussotti and Stockhausen.

“Music theater is theater that is music-driven (i.e. decisively linked to musical timing and organization) or where, at the very least, music, language, vocalization, and physical movement exist, interact, or stand side-by-side in some kind of equality,” the authors write.

In other words, music is really not necessarily, or even at all, the driving force as in opera, and the seven lively arts do not integrate with and complement each other in NMT as they do in opera and musical theater. They may just exist next to one another like sculptural blocks. Nor, Salzman and Deszy go on to say, is the artist’s personality (in the Romantic sense) necessarily a (or the) determinant voice in NMT; rather, the mere accident of the process of composition—sometimes rendered in real rather than “theatrical/historical” time—is the chief effect. The authors observe that while time is historical, and theater always deals with “historical time,” NMT often desemiotizes or de-historicizes time, being all in the present, even though music’s effect on the listener must depend on a sense of memory and historical time in order to be perceived and processed. (Think Robert Wilson, Meredith Monk, et al.)

Salzman and Deszy suggest that in NMT, even the text itself (if there is one, as sometimes the piece is improvised, or its “text” is scripted aleatorism) is often not the driving force, unlike the text (libretto) in traditional opera. More important than “text,” the authors explain, is “meta-text” and intentionality. The traditional notions of what constitutes a “composer” and a “librettist” may be mutating in NMT, especially because of the vast vocabulary and manipulative resources of ever-advancing capabilities in electronic processing, available even to musicians with little formal training. Narrative, and even cause and effect, are often eschewed by NMT practitioners, who may variously be elitely skilled Darmstadt-style composers, stage directors, choreographers, rock musicians, or fine arts outliers, and who may either be single-handed auteurs or team players. (Is this all a way of saying that NMT’s relationship to traditional opera and musical theatre is like that of alternate or indie rock to mainstream?)

In fact, like the works of Cage—which sometimes dissolved boundaries of notation, equal temperament, formal architecture, attachments to musical history, and even attachments to meaning—new music theater, imply Salzman and Dezsy, is theater not just without narrative, but sometimes theater without dramaturgy—an oxymoronical theater.

What are your working definitions for new music theater? The term is open for wikification.

25 thoughts on “OK, So What Is “New Music Theater”?

  1. bdrogin

    Eric Salzman and Thomas Deszy are a powerful combination for approaching this subject, and I look forward to reading their text, and not just the summary Mark has presented. I, of course, was asked by NewMusicBox to write their 2001 hyperhistory on what I called “The Form Without A Name.” I frequently use “new music theatre” myself as the best available term.

    My non-book length contemplation of the subject is Towards Understanding the Opera/Music Theatre Spectrum and Developing a Grand Unified Theory of NewOp, whose long title and reasonably short introductory material is followed by a simple Chinese menu of dimensions that any piece of “new music theatre” may encompass. I list three possible narrative styles, for example, and I’m sure that Eric and Thomas did not mean to imply that the conventional neo-realist style of opera and musical theatre, by definition, excludes any particular piece from “new music theatre,” given that my first “opera” has been rejected as “not opera” and “not musical theater.” Either that means it is “new music theatre,” or we need ANOTHER category.

    Anyway, thanks for the preview.

    Barry Drogin
    Not Nice Music

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  2. Daniel Wolf

    Barry Drogin’s article is excellent, but I would also add music theatre in which vocal performance is not a central aspect, including the landmark west coast theatre pieces of Young (Vision, Poem), Sender (Desert Ambulance), Leedy (Decay), and the numerous pieces of Oliveros, Moran, and Lentz, as well as the instrumental music theatre of Davies or Kagel and his students (Bauckholt, Tsangaris, De Alvear).

    I would also add the name of Tom Johnson, whose operas and music theatre works (both instrumental and vocal) are among the most widely played of any contempory American composers.

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  3. philmusic

    As I have mentioned before I have used the term NMT for some time, I got it from Ben Krywosz, My wife Janet has been involved with many such performances. Salzman is well respected and obviously creating an excellent study.

    I prefer to write about Opera, which is my interest-I think there is quite a lot of exploration to be done in so-called “traditional Opera.” Anyway excuse the shameless self promotion.

    My point of view here:

    Phil’s Page

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  4. william

    I have devoted the last thirty years of my life to new music theater, but I have trouble responding to anything that has been said in this blog and its responses so far, because the statements are mostly just brief listings and descriptions of the painfully obvious. The comments and publications listed here and through the various links might be useful for amateurs or young college students trying to orient themselves to the field, or for curious professionals wanting to see who gets listed and who doesn’t. (One notes for example, the usual New York-centric bias with its sadly over-blown self-esteem. Sorry for the harsh observation.)

    To make the discussion more concrete, we might consider why there is not a single school in the world with a specific program devoted to teaching the skills necessary for the creation of new music theater. Music theater (of just about any sort) often requires specific forms of training that are not included in most composer’s and performer’s educations.

    History illustrates that music theater is often a very specialized form of work. The great opera composers almost always only wrote operas and their attempts at abstract music were often abysmal. (Where, for example, are the symphonies, string quartets, and piano sonatas of Verdi, Wagner, Rossini, etc.?) Mozart and Strauss are perhaps the two most notable examples of the few composers who were able to successfully write both theatrical and abstract music. Since music theater involves very specialized skills, we need at least a few good graduate schools with programs specifically devoted to new music theater.

    This kind of training is especially necessary, because we have inherited a historical trend toward stage works as a form of -Gesamtkunst- in which a single voice is responsible for a work’s major elements, particularly in regard to the text, music and concepts of production. This trend has been established by composers such as Wagner, Berg, and Menotti, and even more in the newer forms of stage works such as “happenings” and “performance art”. And yet it is notable that there is not a single school in the world where one can obtain a well thought out and complete plan of interdisciplinary studies designed to train one in the literary, musical, and theatrical skills necessary to create serious music theater, or other forms of performance art.

    The desire to integrate music and theater represents a long tradition in western music, and even though this has never been fully achieved, the attempts have often led to some of the most important advances in western music. The techniques and aesthetic philosophies developed by the music theater of the Florentine Camerata, Montiverdi, Gluck, Mozart, Weber, Wagner, and Berg almost outline the evolution of our musical heritage. To this day, many of the most importance advances in musical thought have come from attempts to create new kinds of music theater. So where are the programs for training composers, singers, and instrumentalists in this kind of work?

    William Osborne
    William@osborne-conant.org
    http://www.osborne-conant.org

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  5. philmusic

    I believe that both NYU and Yale have music theater programs which include composing–I have heard a performance of NYU composers. Ben Kryosz has a composer/libretto instutite here in the twin cities –where we live–and I’m sure that there are many others.

    Oh, If you had bothered to read my page you might have noticed that I also point out that stuff about Wagner etc etc.

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  6. philmusic

    One could also study with an experianced Opera composer, but the main problem with composing Opera today is not training -but opportunity.
    Who gets it and why? From my point of view training has very little to do with it.

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  7. Frank J. Oteri

    Actually Rossini stopped writing operas in 1829 and lived for nearly an additional forty years (he died in 1868). During that final period which is nearly twice the length of his operatic career—his first opera, Demetrio e Polibio, was produced in 1809—Rossini wrote a ton of piano music. In fact, it fills up some eight CDs on Channel Classics performed by pianist Paolo Giacometti on pianos of Rossini’s day (Erard and Pleyel). So it’s hardly an insignificant body of repertoire. Donizetti, another composer now mostly only known for his operas, composed over a dozen string quartets.

    Don’t confuse the marginalization and pigeonholing of artists—a phenomenon which continues to this day—with any real barriers between various artistic pursuits.

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  8. philmusic

    On the other hand it could still be argued that the theatrical gift does not always translate back or forth into absolute music or vocal music for that matter.

    Frank, are you saying that all of a composers compositions and activities are of equal importance to their understanding? I love Rossini’s string quintets and also base my composition teaching techniques on his–but he will always be an Opera composer to me, and to many, many, many, many, many, other folks.

    And for Rossini it would never be a pigeon–it would be a squab! LOL

    Phil

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  9. william

    Thanks, Frank, for the information about Rossini’s piano music. It is not that opera composers didn’t write in other genres, but as I said, their efforts were often “abysmal.” There might be some good reasons why we hear so little of Rossini’s piano music or Verdi’s string quartet (written in 1873) that go beyond marginalization and pigeon-holing. There might be quite separate and mutually exclusive compositional skills between abstract and theatrical music. Even Beethoven was a master at one and weak in the other. Rossini’s piano sonatas compare poorly to Beethoven’s, but L’italiana in Algeri or La gazza ladra have qualities that Fidelio can’t touch.

    People seldom consider that even Bach never wrote an opera. History seems to show that there are only two or three great opera composers per century. It seems to be one of the rarest of all human abilities.

    This important point is also overlooked when operas are commissioned. The Met under Joseph Volpe, for example, commission several, and of course, almost all of them were notably unsuccessful. They seemed not to understand that opera composition is a specialty and that they should turn to composers who have proven expertise in the field – even if such composers hardly exist. I notice that Peter Gelb has corrected this problem. Most of the new round of commissions have gone to composers deeply involved with music theater.

    William Osborne

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  10. rtanaka

    I’ve done several gigs over the summer involving theatrical productions in the LA area, mostly utilizing improvised music as accompaniment to the narrative. (Isn’t this how they used to do it in the old days?) Most of this would’ve been unthinkable in most schools, but CalArts provided a lot of opportunities for myself to work with these types of mediums. The school itself doesn’t have a program in that area, per se, but with enough self-initiative a student should be able to find ways to produce “new music theater” or whatever they might call it. The amount of multi-disciplinary performances that are going on at that school is quite amazing, and I would definitely recommend the school to anyone who might be interested in that type of approach.

    Mira Kingsley, who is now a faculty at CalArts, teaches both dance and theater. I enjoyed working with her because her approach has such a sense of directness and approachability without losing the complexities behind its subject matters. (Normally I don’t tend to “get” dance, but I found her gestures to be very understandable, I think part of it comes from her influence from theater where emotional gestures are “emoted”.) At least from talking with a few people, it seems that dance is also moving toward similar directions.

    In the music department, Anne Lebaron teaches a class called Hyper-Opera which is also fairly interesting. Her approach definitely comes from the opera tradition but the cross-disciplinary approach blurs it enough to turn it into something else. I think it’s something that people here might be interested in checking out.

    Maybe part of the “problem” (if it is one) is the fact that most of the knicks and tricks that you learn in music-theater cross-overs you do by feel, more than anything. Actors approach their artform very differently — the words are important, sure, but it’s more about internalizing the intension of the sentence rather than say, doing the musical equivalent of “playing all the right notes”. (They have to, in some ways, because everything they do is memorized.) Other than keeping an open mind, I don’t know if there’s anything that can really prepare you for that kind of thing.

    Can these things really be taught in schools as a curriculum, with the kinds of training that classical musicians typically receive? I’m not so sure. Oh, there’s also the fact that how does one make a living, being an opera composer? (These gigs haven’t been paying very well, although I enjoyed doing them very much…) It might be a hard sell to try to get these types of things taught as part of a general curriculum.

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  11. william

    I think there are many things that could be taught in a graduate program devoted to new music theater.

    To summarize, musicians could be introduced to playwrighting, acting, dance, pantomime, mask work, clowning, light design, make-up, costuming, and stage design.
    They could also be introduced to videography and other forms of digital multimedia. And of course, there could be a specialized musical study focusing on the literature and theory of music theater, performance art, and vocal writing. These are all things my wife and I had to study to develop our music theater and its concepts. (You can see and hear the results through audio and video clips on our website.) My wife is giving a series of seminars at the Musikhochschule Trossingen this year to teach these very topics to composers, instrumentalists and singers.

    I outline these pedagogical ideas in more detail in an essay entitled “New Vistas for the Performing Arts” written to accompany a performance my wife and I made for an Inter-arts festival at Juilliard. You can read it here:

    http://www.osborne-conant.org/vistas.htm

    In 2004, we premiered one of our theater works, “Cybeline,” in the REDCAT Theater of Disney Hall under the auspices of CalArts. We also gave talks and seminars at the school. We were impressed with the music departments desire to work with other departments, but we also noticed a lack of cooperation and a lack of experience and understanding about how such programs could be created.

    William Osborne
    http://www.osborne-conant.org

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  12. bdrogin

    So nice to return to this page and see the postings of my friend, William Osborne. I am writing a piece for his wife, and I highly recommend her music video, Rachel’s Lament, although I warn you that it is extremely moving and upsetting, so you should be prepared.

    I volunteered to give a guest lecture to the NYU Musical Theatre program, and to the National Opera Association, on the topic of “new music theater” in Europe, but it just dissipates into nothing, although I know for a fact that some people there are not completely ignorant of this work. There are many educational opportunities in learning opera, musical theater, and even new music theater. Some have been cited, one could also add the ACA, AOP’s Composers & the Voice, and VOX. Moving beyond the USA, I can think of at least three in Canada, and then there is vocal training at the Institute for living voice, which has apparently moved past its first three years in Belgium to sessions in Australia, Argentina, and Norway, to name a few.

    My hyper-history for NewMusicBox was most certainly New York-centric, it admitted as much (and included a link to an excellent Theatre Artaud page that is now dead). Check out this link page I maintain on behalf of the NewOp/NonOp community as an international corrective.

    I am positive that Eric and Thomas’s book will cover forms of new music theater that do not involve the voice, my hyper-history reluctantly excluded many genres and creative work that I adore, which I noted in my introductory passage. Thank you, Daniel: Oliveros, Moran, Davies, Tom Johnson – and Scott Johnson, for that matter.

    The NewMusicBox reformatting dropped 2003 and 2006 updates which you’ll find on my website here.

    I have written far too much on this subject, but nothing will compare to the book Eric and Thomas are producing. I’m shopping around a manuscript for a different kind of book, not a scholarly tome limited to new music theatre, but an accessible sociological consideration of the future of all forms and the cultural contexts they inhabit.

    I think, although a bit scattershot, that addresses all of the postings I care to comment on, sorry for the bad signature link, I’ll try again.

    Barry Drogin
    Not Nice Music

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  13. jpwillems

    I am a attendant of the New Op for some years and have staged some big productions ( one even involving three composers for the same opera: Jacob ter Veldhuis, Gerard Ammerlaan and Boudewijn Buckinx, which was quite exciting). I am glad that the work Eric and Tamàsz (as it is correctly spelled in Ungarian) is due to see the light next year.
    What Barry is stating, that they are actually writing history, is of course true. But I think their vision will select their choice of whom they are going to quote or cite and who not. What I hope, though, is that they have a very wide scope – as well in geography as in art form – in which to view modern music theatre.
    My, I am really looking forward to it.

    Greetings,

    Jo

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  14. bdrogin

    Phil,

    If you have any further questions or comments you should write to me directly, but if you visit my website you will see that I already have 3 “books” on the Internet, one of which is of interest to the readers of NewMusicBox, A Musical Contrarian. It first appeared in 1999, and I add to it every year. What’s great about an Internet book is that you can refer to a piece of music and then link to an Amazon.com page where the reader can actually hear a few seconds from the piece. Also, I have used MIDI files so that when you click on a score selection, you can hear it played. Finally, I have an agreement with New Music Connoisseur; they have the right to publish my book and score reviews on their website, then publish it in their print edition, but I retain the copyright, and when the next edition comes out I republish it on my website. My recent review of Kyle Gann’s latest book, which is out in the print edition, is still up on their website. I do not review performances or recordings, only scores and books. It’s really cool reviewing scores, I reviewed some Zhou Long scores that the AMC made available on NewMusicJukeBox, and I could actually link to the score and refer to a particular measure number!

    But just as watching a video of a music-theatre performance is not the same as being there, a book can be a book. The book I have written is intended to be published as a paperback original, is written for a trade audience, and is intended to be sold and make me money. Every professional has to decide what to give away for free and what to charge money for. You will have to pay money for Eric and Thomas’s book when it comes out, and you will have to pay money for my book, too, unless, like me, you review books for a living and get reviewer’s copies for free!

    Barry

    P.S. I posted a link to this page with some comments on the C-Opera listserv that I moderate, and Jo posted a response here. Sorry, you’ll have to become a C-Opera subscriber to see what he’s responding to!

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  15. bdrogin

    Video is a Video is a Video
    P.S. Rachel’s Lament is not a video of a performance, it is an Internet piece. I have compiled a list of some Internet media sites (some of the links may be dead, sorry) at the bottom of the VPNM website.

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  16. william

    I have a premiere of a new 50 minute video in a few days and, sadly, don’t have time to add too much to this very important discussion – one of those rare topics where I actually might have something worthwhile to say. For now, I just want to add that discussions about new music theater should address the question of large vs. small genres.

    Why has Western culture never developed a significant genre of chamber music theater, especially when it would seem such an obvious thing to do? Some of the greatest minds of the 19th century tried and their efforts were almost complete failures. Why?

    A literature of chamber music theater would be invaluable and deeply enriching. There have been many efforts in this direction over the last 50 years or so, especially in Europe where many, if not most opera houses have small studio theaters for experimental work. Once again, most of the efforts have not been successful. And here too, one might ask why? (Or can we conveniently say this is only a matter of how the works have been received?)

    We might also note that Samuel Beckett, who was one of the greatest playwrights since Shakespeare, and who had an enormous influence on 20th century culture, wrote only in the smallest forms. Later in life, he even strove to create small, short works he considered theatrical equivalents to chamber music.

    Opera is like a massive dinosaur that has collapsed under the weight of its own flesh. It is an utterly expensive, unwieldy form that no longer has any established practices and techniques. It invites failure, especially when composers with little experience in music theater jump in and waste years trying to write one. Small music theater is not only an invaluable goal in itself, it allows us to put music theater in a test tube and see what really works. It is a very sensible and useful approach to reinventing and reviving the genre of music theater. Here in America, we have so few opera houses, and even those rarely have a studio for the presentation of smaller forms. I know some exist, bu we need more studio theaters for small forms of new music theater.

    I wish I were not so busy. There is so much to say about these topics. Many thanks to Mark and Barry for addressing these issues. I know I am biased, but I hope we will have many more discussions about new music theater, because aside from work like Barry’s, the topic is deeply under-addressed.

    William Osborne
    http://www.osborne-conant.org

    P.S. I think there are many important connections between video and new music theater. Many of the MTV videos, for example, are actually quite theatrical. Why have we “classical” composers left the fabulous genre of music videos mostly to the pop folks? (I know there are a few classical music examples, but they are still rare.)

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  17. bdrogin

    William, I think the young are just waiting for people like you and me to die off so that we’ll atop injecting into the cultural discussion memories of old battles that have long since become irrelevant. Years ago, it may have been considered au courant and radical to advocate the legitimacy, vibrancy and excitement of “le small-scale.” I certainly have enough old essays dating back half a decade that make the point (viz, “the culture should re-evaluate an economic justification for forms that require the preservation of large edifices, vast operating staffs, significant ‘charitable’ contributions and the like” – from A Portrait of the Artist as a Dead Man).

    But look at the world today, comprised of YouTube videos and festival and showcase economies and independent cinema and new music chamber groups.

    In 1984, David del Tredici could still tease those who hadn’t pulled off the hat trick big orchestra success of his “Alice” pieces by wearing a T-shirt that baldly stated, “The difference between boys and men is how long they can keep it up.” Spectacle and scale cannot simply be wiped off the map, and so ridiculous giants like “Titanic” will sweep the Oscars while many of us scratch our heads, but the behemoths are not winning, and the directors saddled with these institutions are definitely not taste-makers. Our careers have taken us to the point where, even if presented with a huge production, our small-scale sensibilities will battle it out with the expected dead norms of many generations past.

    A bigger hope is that the rising generation will rediscover our older works, and embrace them, and assist us in our current pursuits. As for fools like Carter and Danielpour, their “operas” will be footnotes, or not remembered at all. I don’t worry about it anymore.

    Barry

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  18. william

    Thank you for your thoughts, Barry. I have to be brief, but looking around at contemporary opera, we might say that spectacle and scale have indeed been wiped off the map, at least in terms of operas that are genuinely –successful-. (In spite of his T-shirt, I suspect Del Tredici’s “Alice” will also be a footnote in history, even if that, along with an entire literature of other failed or passing works from the 20th century.) Perhaps one could find a few successful large operas written in the second half of the century, but they are exceedingly rare.

    It might also be a waste of time to worry about what the young think. Their thoughts will be on to some other ephemera next year, and even in our youth oriented culture, they have a lot of bark, but very little bite. To speak from a practical perspective, perhaps it would be better to focus on the people in the States who run opera houses, and -continue- trying to convince them (reactionaries that they are) to establish small studio theaters as part of their facilities. If the Europeans can do this, we can to – or so I should hope.

    At some point we need to stop worrying about whether an argument is new or not, but rather about continuing our arguments until useful results are achieved. To hell with having the newest idea on the block. From a pragmatic perspective, as you know all to well, it’s not about newness or oldness, but about getting needed work done.

    That means we need graduate schools with comprehensive, four or five year curriculums for training musicians to create contemporary forms of new music theater (not just a few scattered seminars, workshops, and summer programs.) And we need to create a culture of small theaters for this kind of work. These efforts will take decades — just like our struggles to get national health insurance, end the death penalty, stop racism and homophobia, etc.

    Internet video is one great solution for practicality and access, but I think we still need live performance too. I wish I had more time to write. I hope this is readable.

    William Osborne
    http://www.osborne-conant.org

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  • rtanaka

    (Oops, I always have trouble using this html thing.)

    http://www.jlpaf.org/about.html

    Here’s a foundation that supports performances of new music theater works, which gives funding to composers. The deadline for this year’s allocation is about to pass, but could be good to keep it in mind for next year.

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  • bdrogin

    William, I think you’ve misread my posting, which, although not explicit, was clear enough:

    “look at the world today, comprised of YouTube videos and festival and showcase economies and independent cinema and new music chamber groups.”

    My point was that the young had already gotten past what was for us a debate about the legitimacy of small-scale new music theater vs. large-scale opera. You fall back into Lukas Pairon’s argument – the large-scale opera houses will save us by setting up small-scale studios. No, what will happen is the large scale institutions and their artistic directors will wake up and realize that there is significant ferment going on outside of their walls and tap into it (I would never write “legitimize” it, although some may grant an institution such power).

    Checking out the Larson Foundation grant recipients, I can’t say that they have never financed truly innovative or experimental work, because they have, but the majority of the grant recipients are working in good ol’ musical theater. Dennis and Susan Carlyle and their Carlyle Fund had a better track record, but they appear to have closed up shop – the Wayback Machine shows that their website disappeared some time after April 2006. Sorry for the bad link in my 2001 article – there is no new link.

    Barry Drogin
    Not Nice Music

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  • william

    You are right, Barry. The European model of having small studio theaters attached to opera houses has many weaknesses. The budgets for the small theaters are always only a pittance compared to what the large halls receive. In Germany, many of the studio theaters have very limited programs. I have seen some that end up being used mostly as storerooms for sets used in the large halls.

    The ambitious Forum Neues Musiktheater of the Staatsoper Stuttgart was completely shut down last year because its funding was eliminated.

    In the States, there are so few opera houses to begin with, and their existence is often so tenuous, that it might be pointless to encourage them to create and maintain studio theaters. Maybe we should realize that much, if not most, small music theater owes little to opera and that it should create its own completely independent culture. Or is that too radical and absolutist? Some of the support the big houses give composers to write small music theater is very helpful. It also helps to have the opera houses think outside the box. Or should I say big box?

    Sorry I can’t write more. I am in the midst of flying back to Germany.

    William Osborne

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  • bdrogin

    ENO studio is another example of a big opera house funding a small one in a big way, but it, too, closed up shop years ago.

    I’d posit that a separate culture outside of the opera farm system has already emerged. None of the thirteen NewOp/NonOp meetings was sponsored by a conventional opera house, most were established small companies devoted to new work, a few were theatre companies of varying sizes. This is similarly true for the great majority of the fifty organizations represented at the meetings (follow that link and see for yourself).

    To bring this full circle, with the publication of the Oxford University Press book, I think it will become clear that we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it.

    Barry Drogin
    Not Nice Music

    Reply
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