These were the two questions asked yesterday at the discussion around the creation and production of the new opera we saw for the second time yesterday evening. Neither was answered with a consensus. And to illustrate the difficulty with the first question - a production of John Adams' Dr Atomic here in Bloomington by the IU music school's opera department next season has been replaced by a production of Loesser's The Most Happy Fella. Is it an opera? If it is then is Guys and Dolls? And My Fair Lady? They are certainly now in the category of what one might loosely call "classic" - they are still going strong after 50 years.
And the second question? Lets leave that to the composers to show us, as Monteverdi, Handel, Gluck, Mozart, Verdi, Wagner and Britten have. Not to mention Berg, Janacek and a multitude of others who have moulded music and theater and combined their expressive power to create the unique experience that we somehow "know" to be the performing art form that we love. "Prima la musica......." was about as near as we got to a consensus.
I was glad to have had the opportunity to see ¡Únicamente la Verdad! for the second time yesterday evening. I have no doubt that this piece will develop and have some further outings down the line. It emerged from a very short rehearsal period indeed - and it was remarkable what was achieved in the time available.
I get back to Chicago this evening with an interlude in Indianapolis on the way.