Feel like writing an opera is only for big name composers with big budgets? Or are you willing to take the plunge and create a work in one of the most compelling and cutting edge musical forms...an opera?
Almost two years ago I embarked on the largest musical production I have created to date - Libertaria: The Virtual Opera. After writing the award-winning Creation Oratorio and dozens of multimedia works, I wanted to combine my love of the audio and the visual into a single large scale work.
Find a Great Dramatic Story You need a strong story to write a compelling opera. Fortunately you can easily borrow from thousands of public domain works and modernize them. Think of West Side Story (just a contemporary version of Shakespear's Romeo and Juliet). Many great operas use Shakespeare, the Brothers Grimm, and Biblical stories, all of which include interesting characters, strong themes, and action. Libertaria borrows heavily from messianic stories, but is set in the future and changed…
Sheet Music (Photo credit: jayneandd)Awhile ago I decided that I would upload the bulk of my music scores and sheet music to sites like Scribd, the Petrucci Music Library, and Archive.org for free sheet music downloads. Some musicians told me that it was ridiculous to give away my music. The truth is that I don't depend on music publishing sales of my scores, and I would rather inspire a young piano student, percussion ensemble, opera singer, grandma, bored music student, or music teacher to play and study my music than hold on tight to my copyrights and let my music scores collect virtual dust on my hard drive.
The Petrucci Library, Scribd, and Archive.org all have dozens of free music scores available for choir, vocal solos, piano, percussion, orchestra, opera, multimedia works, and more. You can see a short list of available free sheet music by checking out the Scores page.
Originally composed during a hurricane in South Florida. Inspired by a news reporter's comments about "Airborne sand" whipping through her hair, the composer decided to write a work for flute that imitated the movements of sand whirling on a beach during a hurricane. It was subsequently performed at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
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1000 Pennies for Your Thoughts - NARA - 534149 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)One of my many hats is online university instructor. I teach courses in Media and Music History. In my Media in American Society class, we discuss many aspects of media, including truth in media, media conglomeration, marketing, advertising, and the like.
Today my students had an intriguing discussion/debate online about news and partisan politics. The debate was a healthy one, with some students claiming that they see all sides, others describing their favorite political pundits, and others lamenting the lack of authenticity in the media today. In the end, the fact that there would be no answer to today's questions, largely due to the lack of authenticity and the inability to trust anything in print, online, on a TV, spoken by a political leader, etc. etc., I brought up a short discussion on postmodernism, postpostmodernism, and its effects on American culture.
What the critics are saying about Libertaria: The Virtual Opera: “One of my favorite things about this story is its odd apocalyptic tone and strong sci-fi/fantasy foundation. The dark quality that comes with it is the cherry on top.” –FanboysAnonymous.com
“...As a story, it is very much in line with the good-vs.-evil sci-fi tradition, with the added bonus of a plucky female heroine…There are a good many percussion effects in the #opera, and its tone is primarily quite dark and sinister, very much along the lines of a contemporary video game score.” Palm Beach Arts Paper Music Critic Greg Stepanich
Based on the "groundbreaking" and "epic" animation sci-fi film…
In this beautiful romantic classical music work a forgotten flower finds redemption when she is rescued by a traveler. Composed by award-winning composerSabrina Pena Young for her wedding day. Dedicated to Nathan Young. Scores are available through the composer's website (sabrinapenayoung.blogspot.com) and the Petrucci Library. ASCAP. Pena Young Publishing.