Buffalo State Lecture Today Making of a 21st Century Opera: Libertaria

Today I am giving a lecture at Buffalo State on Making of a 21st Century Opera: Libertaria. The question about the future of opera amidst budget cuts, economic downturn, and an ever expanding availability of musical choices has led those musicians who write large scale forms of music like symphonies, operas, oratorios, and ballets to find other creative outlets including online media, film music, royalty-free music libraries, jingles, and production. 

BELOW Perry R. Cook and Matt Meadows lend their voices for "Metal Ink" from Libertaria: The Virtual Opera. After each soloist recorded their vocals, Patrick Rundbladh and I combined their vocal takes into a single solo where the character sings in duet with himself. 


The question is if large scale traditional musical productions are viable today. When I began work on Libertaria: The Virtual Opera a couple of years ago, I wanted to create an opera that not only was feasible but was incredibly portable. The beauty of Libertaria is that after the premier, if someone wants to view the opera, they can simply pop in a DVD or download the film. Libertaria will be available for Video on Demand later this year (VOD), which will open up an affordable way for opera fans to enjoy a new contemporary opera. 

Because my overall opera production costs were low largely due to the incredible generosity and talent of my cast and crew, I do not need to recoup $100,000 in production costs. 

In addition, unlike my oratorio Creation that involves a significant time commitment from a live chorus and ensemble for every performance, the work for Libertaria is complete and easily replicated. In fact, it can be cloned digitally and quite literally. 

Classical Composers use Technology in Innovative Ways

Pauline Oliveros
Cover of Pauline Oliveros
Many other musicians are finding unique ways to follow their life's passions through technology. Eric Whitacre's several thousand member virtual choir, for example, allows him to hear his music sung by thousands and enjoyed by millions internationally with the use of social media. Opera by You is an opera created entirely through crowdsourcing. Pauline Oliveros' Telematic Circle combines Internet technology with live performance to create simultaneous remote performances live in concert, this includes contemporary dance concerts. 

Technology is broadening our definition of music, 
allowing us to exponentially expand previous art forms.

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How do YOU use technology in music today? Share links to your projects in the comments below.
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