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"Death and the Powers: The Robot Opera"
Bar Harbor
alexx_kay
Well, that was disappointing.

Why is it that shows which embrace new, radical technologies in their production values always seem to end up with *stories* that are anti-technology, luddite, and basically pro-death?

And while I'm asking useless rhetorical questions, why does opera, as a medium, seem to think that it can get away with incredibly banal dialogue, as long as you sing it at a sufficiently high pitch and drawn out? Other forms of theater, even those that make heavy use of music, don't seem to have a problem with making the actual words be interesting.

Well, at least the robots were cute.

Note to self: the second balcony tickets at the Cutler Majestic Theater are cheaper, because they are stratospheric. The overhead view is kinda cool, but I could do with a few less flights of stairs to reach my seat.
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I heard an interview about this on NPR last week or so, and I'm glad to hear a review.

why does opera, as a medium, seem to think that it can get away with incredibly banal dialogue, as long as you sing it at a sufficiently high pitch and drawn out?

"...And they fall in love, regardless of the fact that she's married to Hunding, which is immoral, and she's his own sister, which is illegal. But that's the beauty of Grand Opera: you can do anything you like, as long as you sing it!"

To come slightly closer to addressing your question, the original point of opera isn't the words, or the dialogue, or even the plot: the point is the songs, and the story is just a framework to line the songs up on. I concede this doesn't actually answer the question, since it amounts to just saying "It is what it is," more a way to say that if you want interesting words you should look for a related but different medium, like operetta or musical theater or something.

Kudos for the Anna Russell quote :-)

"the original point of opera isn't the words, or the dialogue, or even the plot: the point is the songs, and the story is just a framework to line the songs up on."

You could say exactly the same about musicals. And yet, somehow *that* medium managed to grow and mature.

As near as I can tell, having sung some of it and having an operatic tenor in the family, opera is basically orchestral music played on people-shaped instruments. So the music grows and matures, and the text remains something that serves the production of the music - the shapes of the sounds rather than what they say.

In a well-constructed opera, you should be able to tell basically what's going on by listening to the sound and watching the actor. Which is of course why opera singers who can act are such a treasure.

Kudos for the Anna Russell quote :-)
Humbly accepted, and forwarded on to Miss R :-)

You could say exactly the same about musicals. And yet, somehow *that* medium managed to grow and mature.
I could say that musicals, by including spoken dialogue in their construction, have been designed to include more than just the songs. I could say that words like "grow and mature" imply value judgments, but that operas certainly have changed in other dimensions over the long run of the art form. I might even suggest that musicals themselves are an evolution of opera in the direction you like, but I admit that I don't know the relationship between opera, operetta, and musical theater well enough to state it for sure.

Subjunctively, I could say any of the above. Indicatively, I'd love to borrow a mighty, meaty "Tales of Asgard" sometime; indeed, I seem to be accumulating reasons for a visit south sometime soon.

Oh, and an a completely other note: I just finished reading a collection of Stan Lee/Jack Kirby "Tales of Asgard". If'n you want to borrow it, you're more than welcome to.

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