How Bandcamp Helped Me Create and Opera

How Bandcamp Helped Me Create and Opera 

Organizing a cast virtually has distinct challenges. Libertaria: The Virtual Opera has a core cast of ten talented vocalists with incredibly diverse backgrounds. Talented opera singers Kate Sikora and Gracia Gillund share the lead role of Libertaria, with Gretchen Suarez‐Pena taking on the difficult antagonist Lucinde. Eclectic artist Matthew Meadows and electronic music guru Perry Cook lend two distinct styles for the male lead of Simeon, an addict who ages in reverse. Talented singers Jennifer Hermansky, Lucas Matias Mora, and others round out the international cast. None of these cast members have met for a rehearsal.
How to organize an opera cast through cyberspace? Similar collaborative projects like the Deep Listening Telematic Circle have used Google+, Internet 2, and Skype for live concerts and rehearsals. Because Libertaria is animated with the voices dubbed in during post‐production, live rehearsals were unnecessary. Cast members download a Libertaria Cast Rehearsal Album from Bandcamp (http://sabrinapenayoung.bandcamp.com/album/libertaria‐cast‐rehearsal‐album‐ vol‐3). 



Each Rehearsal Album contains scores, screenplay excerpts, Cast Information Packet, and click tracks. Musicians can set up numerous albums without a fee on Bandcamp and allow free downloads for fans. In this case, cast members and others access free downloads of the Libertaria Cast Rehearsal Albums.

The compositional process for a large work for multimedia and live performer typically involves several stages: acoustic music sketch, optional Logic sketch, MIDI cleanup in Finale, back to Logic, click track, final score with time code and cues. For quick projects, the process is streamlined considerably, but for larger projects, creating a clean score with time code and cues, a solid instrumental track, and a click track with optional piano cues is necessary for a solid performance. 

Libertaria’s
scores have a clear vocal part with an orchestral reduction for the electronic score. While the hope is to eventually have a fully acoustic opera score, currently the music track consists of an electronic symphonic score, synthesis, and the extensive East/West Symphonic Choirs sampling library. The click tracks have a piano playing each singer’s individual part backed up by the instrumental track.
After receiving the download, a cast member has two months to record and submit excerpts. 

Each excerpt needs at least three clean takes in an uncompressed format without accompaniment for later mixing into the full score in Logic. Cast members send in their recordings using e‐mail or Dropbox.
By the end of the production process, there were over 1000 vocal takes for the final soundtrack.  

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