I have an identity problem. On the one hand I write about the international world of opera, or at least the parts that reach me. On the other I write about music in Sacramento.
M&self went to see a show here in SF a couple weeks ago, "Here Lies Jenny." Sort of a staged song-cycle of Berthold Brecht music, with dancing, developed by and starring Bebe Neuwirth. Beautiful and moving and very dark. On our way out of the theater I stopped by the soundboard and asked the sound guy, "were the singers miked?" He said yes, and "if you could tell, I'm not doing my job."--bc
We all take for granted that everything is miked today. Everything except opera. It's a slippery slope that leads inevitably to a decrease in standards.
it's entirely possible, of course, that we're are the beginning or near the beginning of the development of new traditions and practices. I've written you before about singers using mic's as instruments and props (does Bono ever get photographed without singing upwards into that handmic?); I'm wondering whether down the road, singers (and sound techs) will develop ways of using body mic's to extend the expression....M&I suspected that the singers in "Here LIes" were mic'd (gotta say, the short form of "microphone should really be "mike", shouldn't it; as you use it) when they would look toward the back of the stage and the sound quality didn't change much....as one of my rock-climbing teachers pointed out, when I was whining that guys putting up superhard routes now were using gear that my heros like Tilman and Rebuffat and Buhl never had--he said, in effect, every generation is entitled to the best technology of their age; if Tilman or Lord Hunt or whoever had had Gortex, they'd've by god worn it....so I'd predict that N years down the line, we'll see opera singers (in certain productions), on stage, live, with body mikes and signal processing and we'll find it thrilling and valid. in certain productions....just so it's not everywhere, so we can remember the difference.bc
First you amplify then you alter and finally you eliminate the need for singers all together.
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