my job kicks ass. i love my job. i'm excited by my job.
being in the arts and entertainment industry, not only do i get challenged while having a whole whack of fun in a creative environment, but i am fortunate to have the skinny on all the uber-exciting up and coming music news before most people. in some instances, at the germination/rumour mill stage.
there is a quiet revolution going on in the world of opera right now. i liken it to a pressure cooker. inextricable heat building up, steam pressurizing, the water bubbling up, reaching the boiling point and one day soon, the gasket will blow and the lid will fly across the room. quick, duck!
and so, music artists that the average fan would never think to foray into the world of opera, classical music and the orchestral scoring of films are doing just that. i applaud this growth in the development of any artist. they're taking the helm and crossing boundaries, venturing into perhaps, unfamiliar landscape and bringing with them a fresh eye, original thinking and modern innovation to an otherwise traditional and conservative art-form.
a perfect example of this is the collaboration between blur's damon albarn (LOVE him!) and artist jamie hewlett (of tank girl fame), bringing forth the successful virtual band, gorillaz. adding a third to the mix is director chen shi-zheng and together the trio conceived of the opera, monkey: journey to the west. albarn was commissioned by the city of manchester to compose the score, hewitt designed the costumes and the set and chen directed this adaptation of the famous chinese legend, "the monkey king". this opera featuring singers, acrobats and martial artists has been critically acclaimed and sold out everywhere its played.
had i not had my london/paris trip the following week, i would've hopped on a plane to catch this show at the spoleta festival in south carolina. unlucky a second time, this opera played a limited 4 day engagement at the roh in london, after i came back from my trip. *bummer* such is the timing.
musicians are also taking to scoring movie soundtracks and doing it splendidly. i remember listening to pop will eat itself in the early 90s and i was wonderfully surprised when i found out that clint mansell of pwei composed all the music on the darren aronofsky film, the fountain, a now favourite soundtrack of mine. a highly accomplished composer, mansell also scored the movies pi, smokin' aces and requiem for a dream, with that most amazing song, "lux aeterna."
then there's radiohead's enigmatic guitarist, jonny greenwood, who composed the highly charged, intimidating and sketchy soundtrack for the daniel day lewis' movie, there will be blood. i'm so looking forward to seeing him and radiohead at ubc thunderbird stadium next month.
and now i hear that my favourite band in the whole world, interpol's very own, carlos d. will be joining the ranks as an aspiring film composer. he's already written, produced and scored a short film called, golgotha, which can be viewed on his website, www.carlosdengler.com. very exciting!
(photo by mattbooy)
sidebar: i had about a dozen celebrity run-ins when i was in new york but carlos d. was my favourite, leaving me completely tongue-tied and feeling quite the teeny bopper fan. yes, he's really is that tall, yes, he's really is that stylish and yes, he's really is that charming.
other artists throwing their hats into the ring are:
01. the matrix trilogy's composer don davis' and his rio de sange, commissioned by florentine opera company
02. rufus wainwright's prima donna, commissioned by new york's metropolitan opera and debuting at the manchester international festival in 2009.
also, in an effort to be accessible and to attract younger audiences, movies we're all familiar with have been, are currently or will be performed as an opera around the world:
01. david lynch's lost highway
02. david cronenberg's the fly and scored by howard shore (of the lord of the rings trilogy fame)
03. lars von trier's dancer in the dark, which starred bjork, will debut at the royal danish theatre in 2010
04. al gore's an inconvenient truth and directed by william friedkin, of the exorcist fame, coming 2011
05. brokeback mountain at new york city opera for 2013
opera, classical music and movie soundtracks are where it's at! whether or not all these new works soar or tank is irrelevant. the fact that these maverick artists have the courage to challenge themselves and set about being a trailblazer in a new genre is applaudable in its own right. for me, they earn even more of my respect and admiration and i can't wait to see how they grow even more as artists.
so go on, expand your mind with other art forms and musical genres. get out of that comfort zone and "feel" outside the box. you won't regret it.