A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, opera a cappella now available at Albany Records

Monday, November 5, 2007


Professor Michal Grover-Friedlander at Tel Aviv University is presenting a paper about BUOSO'S GHOST at the World Music Days in Hong Kong at the end of the month. BUOSO is a sequel to GIANNI SCHICCHI. I wrote BUOSO in 1996. It will play next summer at Lake George Opera Festival.

Looks like "canon" is the theme of the papers at the World Music Days. Canon as in the body of music that comes to be the standard repertoire. Now coming up on its 8th production, there is a glimmer of hope that BUOSO might be edging its way toward repertoire status. Prof. G-F recognizes BUOSO'S path toward the canon is unusual because of its overt relationship to Puccini. Most works of the canon are very much stand-alone pieces. Can a piece based on another piece plausibly enter the canon? Check back in fifty years for the answer!

1 comment:

  1. Reading M. Grover-Friedlander's abstract was truly painful. I'm glad I have a brain the size of a pea and would not be expected to listen to the presentation of this paper at the World Music Days conference later this month.

    Every idiot (I include myself in this multitudinous company) understands that artists acknowledge the work of their predecessors, often by explicitly incorporating elements of that work -- form, structure, plot, characters, philosophical themes, whatever. It is a way of honoring our common cultural heritage, is it not?

    Consider an example in literature such as Homer's Odyssey and Joyce's Ulysses.

    Nor is it unknown for an artist to actually appropriate works in the public domain. Consider Aaron Copland's score for Appalachian Spring and the Shaker melody Simple Gifts.

    An artist might also extend or elaborate upon a work in the canon. Consider Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea.

    Certainly in the cases cited above, these subsequent works stand on their own merits. Likewise, I highly doubt that Michael Ching wrote Buoso's Ghost secretly hoping he could force it into the canon by specifying that it should be staged in repertoire with Gianni Schicchi. We know that artistic directors do whatever they damn well please (translation: do whatever fills the seats and the coffers). Management might heed the opinions of the Times' music critic, but the composer's staging directions would barely register as a factor in their decisions on what to offer [perhaps dwindling] audiences.

    Canonization of Buoso's Ghost? Michael is right: wait 50 years.

    P.S. Yesterday I listened to a recording of Maria Callas singing O Mio Babbino Caro -- it's got my vote for inclusion in the canon. Does another blog reader have a sense of whether posting such a clip to YouTube is legal? Thank you, S.