If you’re in Mansfield, Ohio tonight, stop by the Renaissance Performing Arts Center to hear the Mansfield Symphony perform my Wright Flight. If you can’t make it because you happen to be in southern Florida, please stop by the New World Symphony Forum Concert on Monday night to hear the premiere of my Mister Blister.
J. D. McClatchy was our guest in Composition Seminar this week. McClatchy is undoubtedly the most successful librettist in America, having provided the books for eleven operas, including Picker’s Emmeline, Maazel’s 1984, Goldenthal’s Grendel and, by the way, Rorem’s Our Town. He also did the very successful English translation of Magic Flute that the Met produced this season.
We have all manner of musical guests in Composition Seminar, but we’ve never had a Pulitzer-nominated poet before. The fact that he has such wide-ranging experience with composers was an added bonus.
And what a fun guest – graciously opinionated, generously soliciting the students’ thoughts about text-setting, opera, poetry, etc. By chance, we have several composers here who frequently set their own texts (certainly an effective way to avoid copyright issues). When asked his opinion of this practice, he was encouraging, but he cautioned “composers tend to be, of all things, too wordy. Real writers know how to cut the fat out of their texts, giving you all of the essentials with the fewest syllables.”
Point duly noted.