Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Opera Buffa in Due Atti

peter HILLIARD, composer
matt BORESI, librettist
Don Imbroglio was selected as a Next Link participant in the 2005 New York Musical Theatre Festival.
Chosen from a competitive field of 400 entries, Don Imbroglio was a sold-out, extended, critically acclaimed hit on 42nd Street! To find out more, check out the official site at www.donimbroglio.com


Created under the auspices of the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, New York University, 2002. Developed by the Lark Theatre Company, New York City.
What is DON IMBROGLIO?
Don Imbroglio is a full length opera buffa about the mafia. It is at once a rigorous and thorough investigation of the form of late 18th and early 19th century opera buffa and a broad, audience friendly farce. It is designed to complement or replace for a season the standard operas buffa in the operatic canon, with the idea that any opera company capable of performing Le Nozze Di Figaro or Il Barbieri di Siviglia could easily mount it, and be assured a warm reception by both opera aficionados and novices alike.

For the novice, the opera is an accessible introduction to opera in general, and to opera buffa specifically. Because the character types of opera buffa are present in almost all modern farces, including situation comedies, an average audience member is quite familiar with the style of comedy in this piece, with its broad slapstick physical humor and its easy delivery. Musically, there are rousing choruses and memorable snatches of music that an audience will find itself humming upon leaving the theater. Every effort has been made to create parts that performers can make their own. The orchestra does not make all the dramatic decisions for them. As a consequence, a truly organic comedic experience emerges that entertains even that person in the audience who came thinking opera is boring and lifeless. On the surface, the piece is not difficult to understand, and the complete newcomer to opera will find much to like in the piece.

For the season-ticket holder, the piece holds interest on a number of levels. The piece is peppered with musical quotations, some obscure, some extremely recognizable. Some of these quotations are for purely comic effect. Others act as a sort of cliff’s notes to the piece. If the listener can recognize a snatch of Don Giovanni or Seraglio here and there, it stands as a clue to the origin of the type being played out on stage. In addition, many of the scenes bear formal resemblance to very famous opera scenes the average opera-goer would be familiar with. For example, in one scene, the heroine is being pursued by a lecherous old man, a scene quite familiar to anyone who has seen Il Barbieri, Le Nozze, Don Pasquale, Don Giovanni, or Il Seraglio.

For the opera expert, the piece offers the interest of a completely new approach to a very old idea. The writers hoped to avoid Wagnerian operatic techniques as much as possible, and discover new ways of using old techniques. Don Imbroglio uses Arias, Recitatives, and Ensembles precisely the way Mozart would have used them structurally, but in a way he never would have used them stylistically. In the foreground, one might find anything from Vaudeville to twelve-tone to aleatory techniques, but in the background such devices as key-area chiasmus common in Mozart operas are employed. Whereas neo-classicist operas like The Rakes Progress concerned themselves with form simply for its own sake, this piece shares the spirit of the old forms along with the letter of their execution. In other words, the formal elements that resemble Mozart and Rossini are used in the service of a rollicking good time, just as the masters used the techniques themselves. In the second act, the characters are forced to put on a late 18th century opera buffa, and a complete, mini-opera-buffa is pastiched, right down to the recitative in Italian. Even when the music is at its most adventurous, it pays homage to the great writers of this tradition by using the very techniques they proved effective over 150 years ago. And on a lower note, there are music history jokes about everything from Salieri to Verismo that any DMA would find entertaining.

In short, Don Imbroglio is the quintessential crossover piece. It is about laughter and beautiful singing, opera and family, love and pastry. It was written to be the sort of people’s opera that opera used to be.

3 Comments:

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All statements made are our express opinion only and should be treated as such. We may own,
take position and sell any securities mentioned at any time. Any statements that express or
involve discussions with respect to predictions, goals, expectations, beliefs, plans,
projections, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance are not statements of
historical fact and may be "forward looking statements." Forward looking statements are based
on expectations, estimates and projections at the time the statements are made that involve a
number of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results or events to differ materially
from those presently anticipated. This newsletter was paid four thousand dollars from a party
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words such as: "projects", "foresee", "expects". in compliance with Section 17(.b), we disclose
the holding of IF LH shares prior to the publication of this report. Be aware of an inherent
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We may own, take position and sell any securities mentioned at any time. Any statements that express or involve discussions with respect
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not statements of historical fact and may be "forward, looking
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