Y a n n i s   K y r i a k i d e s

When my friends asked me, this past year, what I am currently working on, I have had to reluctantly admit that it was a ‘kind-of-opera’. Since there were characters, a story, even themes of love and death interwoven in the narrative; it didn’t seem right to call it the more hip ‘music theatre’ this time. I make that distinction because in my previous stage pieces I have always assembled the text myself, which has been there to serve an image or abstract concept that the music would elaborate on; a more abstract form, hence music-theatre.
   For An Ocean of Rain I was presented with a script, a libretto, that Daniel and Cathie had worked on the previous year. It was essentially opera already. The rhythms of the text, which are traced in fragmented dialogues and monologues are a gift to any composer; the music more or less writes itself. At the same time this can also be a hindrance, as the need to serve the text becomes of primary importance. In this case it happened to be a gift indeed, as I was already falling in love with the characters, the story and the language.
   My starting point was to imagine that everything could be spoken by the characters on stage and then to try and take it to a musical dimension through the use of digital media or in ways other than singing. I sometimes have a problem with the accepted convention in opera that everything should be sung, and sung in a particular way. Not so much in the craving for naturalism, but in the questions about musical language, conventions and the socio-economic status that it represents. The trained classical voice can sometimes be too beautiful, too much centered on its own cultural currency, whereas the speaking voice can offer richer, more complex and multi-dimensional musical information.


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