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Live Music

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Another imaginative solution to the "live music" problem -- use a university symphony. Today's news links (April 19) includes a review of a performance by the Eugene (Oregon) Ballet in which the music -- including Dvorak and Rimsky-Korsakov -- was provided by the University of Oregon Symphony. There must be many places where this option would make sense.

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Amplification has been used in Broadway musicals for years now, without any reasonable justification that I know of. My guess is that producers, if challenged, would argue that today's singers haven't been trained to project in the same way that the older singers were, but I don't buy that. If you want a career on Broadway, as so many people do, you train yourself to meet its demands. Perhaps the answer lies in the increasing use of film and television stars who have not had years of experience on the stage. Producers want them for the box office, and they do bring in audiences.

But for someone who isn't used to blaring amplification, the results can be painful. I staggered out of Movin' Out convinced that I'd be needing a hearing aid from then on. :)

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But for someone who isn't used to blaring amplification, the results can be painful.  I staggered out of Movin' Out convinced that I'd be needing a hearing aid from then on.  :icon8:

There's your answer! People who regularly attend not only rock but also Broadway shows have been deafened and now require amplification.

I saw the sensational, Juilliard-trained Audra McDonald :wub: in "Marie Christine" at the relatively snug Vivian Beaumont Theater. I was seated in the second row side of the in-the-round auditorium. How disconcerting, then, when I saw the actors just a few feet in front of me but heard the voices coming from somewhere else!!! It did not enhance the experience at all. :D

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Some depressing information RE the costs of live music are contained in Joan Acocella's review of Mark Morris, Martha Graham, and Nrityagram Dance Ensemable visits to New York City. (New Yorker, May 9, 2005):

"One thing that united all these performances was live music. The Graham company had an orchestra of twenty-eight; the Morris troupe, six instrumentalists and eight singer; Nrityagam, three instrumentalists and a vocalist. I don't know how Nrityagram works out its finances, but the Morris company's four performances was thirty-five thousand dollars; the musicians for the Graham troupe's two-week season cost a hundred and eight-four thousand dollars."

"In these days of near-zero public funding for dance, one assumes that the companies more or less killed themselves to raise the money, and the result made all the difference in the world. Dance audiences, I believe, have now got used to taped music, and you can get used to it, the same way you can learn to eat Spam instead of ham, or breathe smog instead of air. Your life is just diminished, and you don't realize it until you see concerts such as we saw last month."

Morris tours with live music. Will Graham, at those prices?

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The following Ballet Companies in Texas use a live orchestra:

Ballet Austin

Texas Ballet Theatre (Dallas Ft. Worth)

Metropolitan Classical Ballet (Ft. Worth)

Houston Ballet

BA does use recorded music for a few of their pieces that use modern music, but that is usually 1-2 performances a year. I think HB shares the orchestra with the Opera, but is seperate from the local symphony. I am not sure about the DFW based companies - but they perform at the same venue with different orchestras. BA uses Austin Symphony.

I have a related question. From a dancer's prospective, what do most of them feel about live vs. recorded music? From the rehearsals I have attended, there is invariably some fine tuning that seems to take place during every rehearsal between the musicians and dancers. Indian dancers usually prefer a live orchestra as there are several sections in which some degree of improvisation is required - and live music is far more accommodating at times.

But for a fixed composition, does it help the dancers or improve their performance? - purely from a musical prospective, not the energy/ambiance influence, I mean.

By the way did I just read a thread started by Helene indicating that the Pittsburgh Ballet will not be using live music.

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By the way did I just read a thread started by Helene indicating that the Pittsburgh Ballet will not be using live music.

The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre board decided that to balance next year's budget, they were cutting live music. The orchestra has filed a grievance, saying that this was a forced decision, not a negotiated one.

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