It is Friday, August 11, 2023 and I am in Halifax, Nova Scotia nearing the end of the Opera From Scratch workshop. It has been a very busy, but amazing time. Watching these six mini operas come to life has been a real privilege.
On our first day, Sunday, I got to hear my soloist go through the work. She had done an impressive job learning the piece considering its loose notation and tuning challenges. But from that day to this one, the transformation has been incredible. Fortunately, not many major changes have been needed in my score, just a few adjustments here and there. There was a worry that it may be a bit too long, but that hasn’t been the case. What has been invaluable to me is watching the singers work through the performance aspects of the operas. Finding the “Third Line” and the vocal colour and approach to project that sentiment. Sitting there and watching my soloist and a mentor analyze a musical line that for the most part was instinctively written is very humbling. What this gives me is a new focus on how to approach the art form. When I am writing, I now have another approach to take while making decisions. I have learnt that my instincts are pretty good, but there are always better choices to make. I can improve on my instincts.
We have a couple of days left – today and a short day on Saturday – then the concert on Sunday afternoon. All of the singers are amazing, and they will put on a heck of a show with these incredible works. I can’t wait for it!
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