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  • Javelins and Opera

    My current gig is with Opéra National de Lyon, singing the role of the Officer in Philip Glass' IN THE PENAL COLONY, based on the Kafka story. In much of the story I am explaining my torture machine to a visitor. This being a coproduction with Compagnie Anonyme, the machine is suggested more than shown, using a revolving platform. I "build" the "machine" by planting 11 spears around the platform, and eventually (bloody?) curtains are hung from them. Looking for a practical way of doing this, the production team bought--javelins. Light, easy to handle, practical! This is actually the first time I've ever had a javelin in my hand. I ran middle distance in high school, but we certainly had no javelins, and since then I have been a mere fan.

  • #2
    A writer in the pages of T&FN pages once aroused the ire of some people by using the operatic term "spear carrier" in one of his stories, taking it to be racist. Supernumerary does have a much better ring, I must admit.

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    • #3
      Re: Javelins and Opera

      Originally posted by Grazerism
      My current gig is with Opéra National de Lyon, singing the role of the Officer in Philip Glass' IN THE PENAL COLONY
      I'm impressed. That's a serious role. Good luck.

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      • #4
        I'm such a philistine. When I first read the title I thought of Elmer Fudd and his "spear and magic helmet" in the greatest short cartoon of all time "What's Opera, Doc".

        Congrats on the role, btw. I'm partial to a bit of Phillip Glass now and again myself.

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        • #5
          I like his twin, Full Glass

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          • #6
            Originally posted by AthleticsInBritain
            I'm such a philistine. When I first read the title I thought of Elmer Fudd and his "spear and magic helmet" in the greatest short cartoon of all time "What's Opera, Doc".

            Congrats on the role, btw. I'm partial to a bit of Phillip Glass now and again myself.

            Also congrats.

            In the future, will you be trying for a role in Wagner's four-part classic on shot putting and discus throwing?

            You know, "The Ring of the Nibelung"--?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by AthleticsInBritain
              I'm partial to a bit of Phillip Glass now and again myself.
              I'm not. I suppose "a bit of" Glass is ok. But a whole opera (even a short one)? Not for me. Although I must admit that he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase . . . .

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              • #8
                Originally posted by gh
                A writer in the pages of T&FN pages once aroused the ire of some people by using the operatic term "spear carrier" in one of his stories, taking it to be racist. Supernumerary does have a much better ring, I must admit.
                "Spear Carrier" is still (affectionately?) used in the opera biz...

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by tandfman
                  Originally posted by AthleticsInBritain
                  I'm partial to a bit of Phillip Glass now and again myself.
                  I'm not. I suppose "a bit of" Glass is ok. But a whole opera (even a short one)? Not for me. Although I must admit that he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase . . . .
                  I have never been a Glass fan, but while the accompanying string quintet plays typical Glass, I have great lines above it that I love to sing. Of course, the Kaftkesque text is gruesome. My wife hates it when I practice and refuses to watch the DVD of the dress rehearsal.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Grazerism
                    Originally posted by tandfman
                    Originally posted by AthleticsInBritain
                    I'm partial to a bit of Phillip Glass now and again myself.
                    I'm not. I suppose "a bit of" Glass is ok. But a whole opera (even a short one)? Not for me. Although I must admit that he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase . . . .
                    I have never been a Glass fan, but while the accompanying string quintet plays typical Glass, I have great lines above it that I love to sing. Of course, the Kaftkesque text is gruesome. My wife hates it when I practice and refuses to watch the DVD of the dress rehearsal.
                    So how do you play the officer? A technocrat gone mad? Shades of Adolf Eichmann?
                    I was thinking about your role as the officer yesterday when I was listening to John Adams' Doctor Atomic on the Mets radio broadcast. Also a scary piece.

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                    • #11
                      I'll sound like a sourpuss, but with the exception of jazz, I have not enjoy an opera after Puccini.

                      Grazerism, welcome back! I was wondering, where you disappeared.
                      "A beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact."
                      by Thomas Henry Huxley

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by tandfman
                        Originally posted by AthleticsInBritain
                        I'm partial to a bit of Phillip Glass now and again myself.
                        I'm not. I suppose "a bit of" Glass is ok. But a whole opera (even a short one)? Not for me. Although I must admit that he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase . . . .
                        Forgot to say: LOL! :lol: Did you really type this all out or do you have a magic button that repeats phrases? (Which is basically what a Glass score looks likes: one measure followed by different versions of "da capo".)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by gh
                          A writer in the pages of T&FN pages once aroused the ire of some people by using the operatic term "spear carrier" in one of his stories, taking it to be racist. Supernumerary does have a much better ring, I must admit.
                          Continuing: we also say "spear chucker". And nothing racist about it: the image is a skinny, pimply, goosebumped, shivering white teenager wearing funny shorts and an Egyptian headdress--which is how tenor Richard Leech started his career in Binghampton.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pego
                            I'll sound like a sourpuss, but with the exception of jazz, I have not enjoy an opera after Puccini.

                            Grazerism, welcome back! I was wondering, where you disappeared.
                            Thanks for the welcome!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Per Andersen
                              Originally posted by Grazerism
                              Originally posted by tandfman
                              Originally posted by AthleticsInBritain
                              I'm partial to a bit of Phillip Glass now and again myself.
                              I'm not. I suppose "a bit of" Glass is ok. But a whole opera (even a short one)? Not for me. Although I must admit that he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase he can produce a beautiful musical phrase . . . .
                              I have never been a Glass fan, but while the accompanying string quintet plays typical Glass, I have great lines above it that I love to sing. Of course, the Kaftkesque text is gruesome. My wife hates it when I practice and refuses to watch the DVD of the dress rehearsal.
                              So how do you play the officer? A technocrat gone mad? Shades of Adolf Eichmann?
                              I was thinking about your role as the officer yesterday when I was listening to John Adams' Doctor Atomic on the Mets radio broadcast. Also a scary piece.
                              The Glass is being directed by a French experimental theater group, so it gets pretty surreal.

                              I also heard the last part of DR. ATOMIC. I was Kissinger in NIXON IN CHINA at English National a few years ago. Director Peter Sellars is literally an angel, finding sympathy for all the characters in that story--except Henry.

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