Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Superhero Opera Looking For Funds

By Russ Bickerstaff
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It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman was kind of a waste of time. The original Broadway run only ran for a few months. It's only occasionally been staged since. A few decades later Bono and The Edge were a little bit closer to the right idea with Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, but the production was such a huge and ponderous creature that it's difficult to imagine it really catching on beyond the initial (admittedly commercially successful) run on Broadway. 


Really, superhero stories don't belong in the  American musical format. The format of the musical as a mixture of song and drama doesn't really capture the spirit of those stories. Opera on the other hand? Opera has the right kind of scope. It's capable of delivering the emotional fugue of a superhero story in much more depth. I recently read old Chris Claremont comics that I grew up with as a kid and realize that the dialogue he was writing for The X-Men in the mid-'80s had a real operatic quality to it. (The internal monologues of the characters feel positively Wagnerian in retrospect.) The superhero genre is really looking for it's proper operatic translation. It's looking for that opera that will take the genre seriously enough for everyone to think that it's a good idea to fuse the genre with the art form.  Jason Powell's Fortuna the Time Bender and the Schoolgirls of Doom is not that opera. It's a comedy. But it looks fun and it had positive reactions from audiences when Milwaukee Opera Theatre original staged it some time ago. 


Now Powell and Milwaukee Opera Theatre are looking to put together an original cast recording of the opera for CD. (A CD--or "Compact Disc" is a thick, polycarbonate plastic disc that weighs 15–20 grams--an optical disc used to store digital data. In this case--music. Weird, huh? Had to refresh myself on that.) 


Anyway . . . pulling everyone into a decent studio and putting together the tracks in a professional way and everything . . . that costs money. So Powell and company are looking for funding via Kickstarter


Here is their pitch:


 

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