Monday, April 25, 2011

Broadway Spectacles

The much anticipated Broadwayshow "Spiderman The Musical" is supposed to premiere this summer. Much of the publicity surrounding this such has been on its extravagance as well as the injuries involved with the stunts performed. Broadway shows and musicals in general have to find ways to compete and draw viewers to see them. In my opinion ,not matter how amazing the spectacle musicals are driven by the story they tell and music which helps tell that story.
Looking at recent successes like "Wicked" or even classics like "The Phantom of the Opera" they both have tremendous scores and compelling stories and characters. True there are breath-taking and memorable scenes performed on stage an (like seeing the Wicked Witch "defy gravity")which add to the splendor of the event. However Broadway musicals which become "classics" generally have solid characters and sweeping and memorable lyrics and scores.
Now don't get me wrong, the creative and ingenious minds which have continually recreated and pushed the bounds of what can be done on stage should be encouraged and applauded. I love to see the creativity involved in sets, lighting, special effects as well as the other technical aspects which help shows come alive.
However strong shows also help support local theater companies and high school music programs. These less technically dependent musicals can be performed on a local level and enjoyed by both amateurs and professionals.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Metropolitan Opera Live Broadcasts

Over the last year the New York Metropolitan Opera has been showing live HD broadcasts of their opera productions in various movie theaters around the country. Their recent production of Rossini's Le Comte Ory was seen on April 9, 2011 in theaters around the US. This year they have slated several more live broadcasts of their productions. This new venue should be applauded by opera fans and music lovers as it makes Live Opera performances available to people who might not be able to attend the opera in person. There are few opera companies around the country and most are centered in large metropolitan areas. However there are many opera fans all over the country. These type of productions allow many smaller locations to see opera live. This could be seen as a great gift idea for music teachers around the country who are now able to take their students to see opera live as opposed to being limited by resources. True there probably is no substitute for the beauty and majesty of being at the Met. to see these performances; however this is one way for us to experience such tremendous talent and productions in our own communities. So check out the rest of the 2011 schedule and find a theater near you who is streaming these live performances. Could we start to see other venues such as Broadway or Music Festivals use this model to reach a wider audience?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Music and Technology

My son serves in the US Army and is part of the US Army bands. He performs on a constant basis for military ceremonies or concerts for the public and community. There is a continual struggle to make sure they have all the right music for the right ceremony or performance. Instead of carrying around fat and cluttered binders and music tote bags filled with music, many musicians are taking a digital approach to organize their music and schedule for the performances. There are plenty of options for hand held displays. You could look at the IPAD or MusicPad pro as potential devices to use. There are also companies which offer electronic stands which display digital sheet music though a little expensive. It is fairly easy to scan sheet music into a digital format and plenty of websites are now offering sheet music in a PDF or other digital format. You can organize your music all in one place and have access to other music in case there is a need for a longer performance. So look at these items as a potential musical gifts for your musicians family members or friends.