Mini opera takes off!!

On Harrowdown HillI hadn’t really planned to blog about this again QUITE so soon, but just amazing things have happened with this in the past few days – indeed, in the past 24 hours!

To start with, my last post was retweeted by ENO with a very kind remark and my site stats hit the sort of peak they haven’t seen in many, many months.

The librettist got in touch and I’m really enjoying his Twitter feed (and you should see his online comic – it’s beautiful) and the work-in-progress stuff he’s posting for the score he’s writing for Mini Operas on Soundcloud.

Yesterday I finally knuckled down to get some notes sorted out. After all, if you’re writing an opera, sooner or later you need to stop talking about it and actually write the wretched thing and with so much unaccustomed attention now, I really do need to write it!

I never did write the blog post I meant to about February’s RPM project, Lucky Dip, but I can say that that experience is paying off in spades right now. The instant I started to work my brain was like “Oh, February again? Sure. I’ll just change gears” – with the result that within a couple of hours I had down the vocal line of the opening aria and half the accompaniment sketched out too. Such a thing would have been unthinkable before RPM when I think I may have been a contender for Slowest Composer in the World.

I think I’m quite pleased with the opening aria. It’s sad and quiet and a little dirge-like, which I’m planning on alleviating just a little with the accompaniment. I’m still working on instrumentation, but I have some live performers lined up too.

I am totally thrilled that Charles Turner, bass-baritone and marvellous composer himself, has agreed to play the principal role of The Inspector.

Charles was involved in February’s Lucky Dip – I wrote To Fortune for him, which you can hear here:

I am also very excited that electric violinist Chrissie Caulfield has also agreed to contribute – she does just amazing things and has a particular talent for the sort of noise work I’m hoping to achieve in the more aggressive parts of the libretto.

Jenni Pinnock has also offered to contribute winds/piano parts and I have hatched some ideas about some other people to approach too.

With the short time constraints and the need to have a polished (or at least not-so-rough-you’d-cut-yourself) recording so quickly, I’m also having to experiment with some different ways – even from Lucky Dip – of getting ideas down. And all the more so as I’m currently living half in temporary accommodation, and half in our bathroomless house where the piano hasn’t even been reassembled (although it soon will be). Plus I’m going to be working with multiple layers and recordings of sound, unlike Lucky Dip where everything that was being sent out was a solo piece or could be recorded with its accompaniment in situ. I’ve never tried this kind of TwtrSymphony/Virtual Choir thing before, so just hoping it works!

So, there it is! 1’30” sketched out, another 5 mins to go!