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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:20 am 
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Aagragaah
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Did The Fiddler on the Roof close? I don't know that I'd recommend it over others but it wasn't too expensive and my son saw a five-minute video of Cats and refused to watch another second. :help:

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 4:27 pm 
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of Vinyamar
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Cats is an odd one. It doesn't really have a story, but its mesmerizing. Its not for everyone though, but then what is? I know people who wouldn't cross the street to see Hamilton. I wouldn't see Brigadoon again unless I absolutely had to.

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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 4:42 pm 
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Feeling grateful
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I saw Cats on Broadway many, many years ago (1982, I believe, when it first was on Broadway). I loved it at the time, but I don't remember much about it.

Of course, it was many, many years ago. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 5:06 pm 
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Fiddler isn't there that I know of, and on top of that, I saw it here last summer (which in no way compares to Broadway, but just the same, if I'm going to do this at all, it would be nice to see something new).


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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 7:28 pm 
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Aagragaah
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Oh, totally, I was just curious.

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 5:20 pm 
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Well, I did that thing where I ask for advice and then ignore it. It's going to be The Great Comet. I'd been waffling around waiting for some sort of epiphany to help make up my mind, and for once, I got one. The show wasn't even on my radar before the Tonys last night, but as soon as I heard a musical based on War and Peace existed and was good enough to be nominated for 12 awards, I was sold (I read the novel as an angsty 20-year-old, and found a lot of meaning in it). B is enthused too because it stars this singer called Josh Groban that I guess women like? :) I'll do my best to report on it in a month or so.


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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:25 pm 
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of Vinyamar
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Worth the trip for Josh Groban alone!

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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:14 am 
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of Vinyamar
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Alatar wrote:
So, great news. My production of Man of La Mancha is nominated for 3 awards. My Cervantes is up for Best Actor, my Aldonza for Best Female Singer and also our House Management team. There's also a chance we'll be up for Best Overall Show, but that is only announced on the night before the awards.


Well, we didn't get the nod for Overall, but we won Best Actor and Best House Management. Runner Up for Best Female Singer. More importantly, its raised my profile hugely if I want to do more directing in the future. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:20 pm 
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Lán de Grás
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That's great! Any chance of you directing another Pratchett adaptation in the future?

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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:35 pm 
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Congratulations, Al!

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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:56 pm 
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Lali Beag Bídeach
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And do you want to do more directing?

Congratulations! :woohoo:

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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:16 pm 
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Oh my goodness. That is amazing!! Congrats Al to you & your entire team.

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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:18 pm 
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Awesome! And I bet you'll pull off a best show sooner or later if you keep it up.


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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:54 pm 
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Congratulations, Alatar!

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:02 pm 
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not something I would recommend
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Too many talented people round here! :D Congrats, Al!! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:57 pm 
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Alright; Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. I'm not going to attempt what I did with Hamilton last year, but I'll still try to write a couple things.

The Great Comet is a musical based on a fairly short section of War and Peace dealing with Natasha's romantic drama and Pierre's existential angst, which ends with just a hint that the two problems might have a common solution. It was a thoroughly unique and a thoroughly enjoyable show. It's not the best I've ever seen, but it was probably my best experience of seeing one live. This is no accident--writer/composer/actor Dave Malloy says the whole thing was inspired by a time he went out for dinner and music in Russia and was pleasantly surprised to discover the musicians were scattered throughout the restaurant among the patrons. Comet was an attempt to recreate that sort of intimate live experience with a musical. To that end, it started as a small-scale piece of dinner theater where the scenes were played on an elevated stage that wound a convoluted course among the diners and musicians. It proved so popular that it kept moving to bigger and bigger venues, and eventually ended up on Broadway. By the time it got there the dinner aspect had disappeared, but the team did their best to hang on to the intimate atmosphere of the original (though things can't quite be the same; intimacy just doesn't scale). The ensemble talks to the audience and distributes snacks. They invite you to clap and sing along and join them in toasts. Most of the show occurs onstage, but a few scenes take place in the aisles as well (or everywhere at once). At a couple points, actors involve audience members in the scene. And if you're willing to shell out the big bucks, you can buy a seat on the stage itself. All these things add up to a rather singular experience--you're not just watching the show, you're involved in it. For that reason, if you want to get the full effect, you really need to see it live; too much would be lost in the translation to videotape. And you certainly don't get a feel for what it's like to be in the audience by listening to the soundtrack on youtube.

What about the story? As adaptations go, it's a fairly purist one. Malloy said his goal was to put Tolstoy's novel on the stage, and his writing process was to take the original text, divide it into "numbers," and then whittle away. This means that at many points, the cast are literally singing lines from the book. Characters narrate their own actions. Rhyme is attempted only rarely. There are often a whole lot of syllables crammed into just a few beats. This leads to "lyrics" like:
Quote:
So this is Natasha
Not much to look at
Says the mean old man in his underthings
I never dress for children or peasants

Quote:
And looking into his eyes,
I am frightened
There's not that barrier of modesty
I've always felt with men
I feel so terribly near
I fear that he may seize me from behind
And kiss me on the neck

Quote:
And this bright star
Having traced its parabola
With inexpressible speed
Through immeasurable space
Seems suddenly
To have stopped
Like an arrow piercing the earth

And Malloy must have figured that since he's already breaking the fourth wall by having the cast interact with the audience, he might as well do the same thing lyrically--the prologue includes this little gem:
Quote:
And this is all in your program
You are at the opera
You're gonna have to study up a little bit
If you wanna keep with the plot
'Cause it’s a complicated Russian novel
Everyone’s got nine different names
So look it up in your program
We’d appreciate it, thanks a lot

If the lyrics are a bit unusual, the music is more so. Malloy describes the show as an "electropop opera." Wikipedia says it "merges Russian folk and classical music with indie rock and EDM influences." It's pretty much all over the map, and some of it is pretty weird. This is something that either works for you or doesn't. For me, nearly all of it did--I actually found myself liking quite a lot of stuff I never would have predicted based on a description on paper. And even when things got undeniably strange, I was having too much fun to care ("Balaga's just for fun," and man, is he. I had to fight the urge to get out of my seat and dance along during that part). Of course there are more traditional numbers in there as well. "Dust and Ashes" and "Sonya Alone" work just fine as "singles," for example.

What else to say? All the performers were fantastic. Groban was great as Pierre, of course. He's a pianist in addition to a singer, and like several of the cast, he goes back and forth between acting and playing in the orchestra (in "Dust and Ashes," he does both at the same time). We had understudies for Natasha and Bolkonsky, but they were both so good you never would have guessed if you didn't know. The set and theater design were something special too; the entrance is decorated like a Cold-War bunker ("there's a war going on out there somewhere"), but then you go up the stairs and emerge in this opulent space hung with hundreds of paintings and red velvet curtains ("the war can't touch us here"). The stage itself is serpentine and split into a few different "levels." It obviously wasn't possible to have the thing wind though all 1500 seats the way it did in the dinner-theater days, but it still has spurs that extend out into the audience and staircases that lead to the mezzanine. Plus, there are three or four "mini stages" scattered around the theater at different points (including one right down the aisle from me on the mez where some high-kicking folk-dancing occurred during the Balaga madness). And as mentioned, a fair number of audience members sit on the stage itself in special roped-off areas.

And the lights! So many lights. Dozens of chandeliers, and hundreds if not thousands of individual "stars," many of which move up and down as needed. I'm a sucker for music and story (which is why musicals can hit me so hard), but I don't often have a strong response to visuals. Still, the point in the final number when the "comet" descends from above surrounded by stars was something special to see.

All in all, very happy with the experience. I mentioned before that I'd been planning to see Evan Hansen, but ended up going to Comet instead since Hansen was sold out. I think that was for the best, because I doubt I'll ever have the chance to see something quite like this again.
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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:47 pm 
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Sounds awesome!

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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:22 pm 
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of Vinyamar
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Love the concept. Is there a Cast recording available?

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 Post subject: Re: Musicals and Operas
PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:55 pm 
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The entire original Broadway cast (audio) recording is on youtube. These things don't always work internationally, but here's the link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STzIIYf ... uyyyET8FdM

The show is 100% sung through (with the exception of a single spoken line, which is included in the recording), so you get the whole script that way. Like I said, hearing the soundtrack doesn't compare with the experience of being there, but it's still worth it. Listening to "Balaga" plus "The Abduction" (which sort of run together into a single number) probably gives the best impression of the sort of craziness the production is capable of. And if anyone just wants to hear Groban, his numbers are "Dust and Ashes," "The Great Comet of 1812," and anything with word "Pierre" in the title.


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