As I stopped to take a breather between larger works, I found that it's been a long time since I wrote any art song. From my earliest attempts at composing to where I am now, art song has always been central. So, in an effort to keep the creative fires burning—or, at least, smoldering—I decided to experiment a little.
Most of my operas lend themselves to the being handed off to a company to perform, i.e. the traditional model of opera production where the composer and librettist consult in the final stages but are rarely active producers or performers. However, one is not. This one falls into the "hands-off" category when it comes to opera companies. It is, at the moment, my most oft performed work and I have had a huge hand in every single one of those performances. My personal attachment to the work is like no other in my repertoire.
Easy to say, in many an instance, "I'll just let the music fix that" rather than work through the issues in the text of libretto itself.
Not holding up my end of the bargain. The halves of the collaboration should not be relied up to fix each other--the whole should be more than the sum of its parts.
Especially tempting when I know intimately that very challenge, or trap, of thinking I can fix a text with music.
When embarking on something large, we're often given that sage, if cliche, advice. Having recently laid down on paper, finally, the first few lines a new libretto destined to be a grand opera, I find that I need to remind myself of this. Indeed, large endeavors always require a large perspective.