LIBRETTIST, COMPOSER and their COLLABORATION

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Email : mjh@chauvin.org.uk 

THE COMPOSER

Malcolm J. Hill            

Malcolm J. Hill is a resident of Bath, England. By the age of 25, he had amassed a total of 25 degrees, diplomas and prizes. He studied in Holland and Sweden, where he is known as a concert improviser, and at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he taught music aesthetics and post-graduate composition (full time) for 26 years. He left the Royal Academy in 1995 to devote more time to writing and composing, but continued as a part-time supervisor of post-graduate composition and musicology at London University for five years. He now supervises a few post-doctoral students. He has composed many works, ranging from solo flute to opera, which have been featured by groups such as Double Image and HEOS, and performed in Londonís South Bank halls. Much of his style is of the "lyrical and non-system" type, and around 80% of his compositions are text-related.

 

THE LIBRETTIST

John F. Deethardt Jr.     737 East Huntington Place, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126 U.S.A.

John F. Deethardt Jr., is a resident of Highlands Ranch (Littleton) Colorado. He is a 1989 professor emeritus of communication studies at Texas Tech University. His doctorate (1967) and M.A. (1964) studies in communication were at Northwestern University; with a bachelor's degree (1951) and post-graduate work at Indiana University in comparative literature and German. He directed and acted in community and secondary school theatre. He taught eight years in the secondary schools and 26 years at the college and university level. He published articles and book chapters in scholarly publications of communication and futurist associations and the social and behavioral sciences. He believes his libretto has a lyrical quality that readers would find compelling.

 

COLLABORATION

John Deethardt and Malcolm Hill met on the internet after the outline and much of the first third of the operaís libretto had been written. After several emails and postal transmissions, they started to collaborate on the whole project. When most of the libretto had been produced, they met in Bath for a few days, mostly to discuss stage-actions and nuances of the last actís plot. With this exception, all their communication was via email. This correspondence, detailing how the work progressed using email, is now being edited by John Deethardt as a separate booklet which could accompany performances.

It was agreed from the outset that the musical style would be accessible to the average opera-goer, that the text would remain in English, with only French names given their European pronunciation. The whole opera would last about 145-150 minutes plus intervals between the three acts. Act Two changes from early morning to mid-day, so the work was organized so that this change could either take place during a vocal ensemble or just by lowering the curtain, omitting the ensemble, and raising the curtain to a brighter-lit stage.

What eventually became the agreed libretto balances a predominantly male-singers first act with a female-singers ending to the opera. Because of the changes of setting and personnel between each act, many of the singersí roles were organized so that non-principal singers could take on a different role in different acts. The opera is through-composed, with each character assigned its own peculiarities; but this does not preclude most soloists being given either a whole aria or at least a partial aria in each act.

 

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