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4.27.2015

UK Composer Lee Scott Chats about Tod Machover and New Web Opera The Village

Composer Lee Scott

On May 1, 2015 UK Composer Lee Scott's innovative web opera The Village will break boundaries

Be a Part of the The Village!

An Interview with Lee Scott

1. Three words to describe your music:

Collaborative, reflective, voice-driven 

2. Who are your influences?

I'm a guitarist first and foremost, so i'd name such figures as Chet Atkins, Frank Zappa, Brian May, Wes Montgomery, Django Reinhardt as influences. Jazz song convention and harmony certainly seems to find its way into my work one way or another, as can be heard in the many of the vocal lines in The Village. In terms of composers, I'm been drawn to music with an emotional underpinning, so works by Debussy, Puccini, but i'm also interested in dadaism and indeterminacy in a musical context so i'd include Satie, Stockhausen, Pousseur as loose inspirations. My everyday listening features Radiohead, Carpark North (Danish electrorock) and Mars Volta

LIKE The Village Facebook Page! https://www.facebook.com/thevillageopera

3. What is the Village Opera? How does this opera break new ground?

SNOUT - Just one of the colorful quirky Village characters
The Village is an interpretation of what a web opera might look and sound like, and more broadly aims to contribute to an understanding of what 'opera' means in the digital age. Digital technologies have become rather pervasive in staged opera over the last 10 or so years. They are mostly exploited in a scenographic context or to disseminate productions to cinema or online spectators, but occasionally, in works such as Scott Deal and Matthew Butner'sAuksalaq, Bill Duckworth's iOrpheus and Tod Machover's Brain Opera, the provisions of digital media help enlist the audience in the production or performance of the opera itself. The Village, first and foremost extends this approach into web opera by encouraging visitors to assume the role of a 'villager' and form their own mini-stories that enrich and recontextualise the central narrative. These contributes are text-based (this time) and are submitted directly from the website itself. Do join in!

The second quality about the Village that makes it different to traditional other opera productions is that the music is not written by one person. In fact, there are 7 composers of this work - one for each character - who are based all over the world (UK, Malta, China, US). My vision here is one of eclecticism. The web, to quote David Pountney. is a "strange blend of jewels and junk" - a melting pot of the weird and the wonderful. I want the opera to be a music-led celebration of such a view. A mixing of styles, influences and cultural resonances. There is no way i could do that on my own, and so I feel very lucky that I get to call on talents of my composer friends to make it a reality. 

In terms of process, i pen the narrative, and write/record the vocal lines (there are 8 singers in the opera) and then hand these materials over to the composers, who bring the characters to life through music. Images of the virtual world and the characters themselves are provided also to help inform the mood of the arias they create. In total there are up to 5 arias per character, which are released episodically over 5 weeks via www.thevillageopera.com. The story begins to unfold on May 1. 

4. What piece of advice would you give your younger you?

This is a really tough question! 

You know, I think I'd be deliberately vague. I believe that the things that you create are a product of what you are - for better of worse - and what you are is a collision of all you have experienced over the years - the lifts and the falls. Who knows, one seemingly illuminating piece of advice may actually end up derailing everything, of forcing myself down a different path. Perhaps i'd encourage him to carry on making mistakes and not be discouraged by then. 


Oh, i'd definitely steer the guy away from investing in those KRK Rokit 8 monitors...

The Village Opera will Premier MAY 1 at http://www.thevillageopera.com/

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