Speechless: Development starts in Adelaide
Whilst I have been working on this project since early 2014, the first draft is now complete and a workshop progress has began. Thanks to the support of Tura new music in Perth, and Vitalstatistix in Adelaide, the work is being further developed over two weeks, resulting in two showings at the end of July (dates below). Working closely with music director Aaron Wyatt, the Australian Bass Orchestra, community choir members in Adelaide and a range of soloists, the work may well be the first 'animated notation' opera. It will feature around 70 people on stage and includes soloists Kusum Normoyle, Alice Hui-Sheng Chang, Judith Dodsworth and Sage Pbbbt.
Scores bound ready to take to Adelaide.
THE SCORE After some print experiments, I decided to go with a simple hard copy that musicians can mark up, to feed into the updates on the electronic score. As the graphic score is read in performance on an iPad, using the Decibel ScorePlayer application, which does not (yet!) feature an annotation layer, so artists will need to make mark ups on paper that is then added to the score the next day, with the assistance of copyist Dan Thorpe (a great composer in his own right). Aaron has developed a system to bulk upload score files to the ScorePlayer using a webserver and a Rasberry Pi. The choer will readfrom a projection, but there will be over 20 ipads in the orchestra and tech team. In an exciting development, we will also be adding stage management directions in the score, making up one of the parts that can be chosen to view as the piece proceeds.
DAY 1 Today Aaron and I flew in to Adelaide where some of the production team were already setting up. First up was marking up of scores with Dan, and printing up a few more so that all soloists, section leaders and production team have a copy. Dan then updated the electronic file versions - the true masters, so they could be converted into score files for the ScorePlayer application. We had our first run with the choir - what fantastic bunch of people! Using the supper room in the wonderful Vitalstatistix venue in Port Adelaide, we ran through the rationale for the work, the score and then various vocal techniques used in this 'wordless opera'. The choir was organised into groups that align with the four soloists, who will join them at their next rehearsal on Saturday. I have a few updates for the score after what I learned from this rehearsal - a few score visibility issues, but also some structural things to look at.