What's Next for the Rock Opera Project?
Earlier this year we launched an 18-month collaboration with the Portland Opera, the result of which will be an original Rock Opera written, designed and performed by PHAME students with support from PHAME and Portland Opera staff. The Rock Opera will be performed on the Hampton Opera Stage at the end of next summer, but students are already laying the ground work for what’s to come.
In this fall’s Costume Design class, students are discovering the core principles of developing costumes. They’re learning to focus not just on the look and feel of a costume, but on the process of combining many elements—fashion trends, audience expectations, archetypes, and more—to create a costume that conveys the key traits of a character.
Our new iPad Ensemble, launched last spring, is hard at work learning to create music together. Already they’re making awesome music—listen to them playing Watermelon Man here—and they’ll serve as the live orchestra for the Rock Opera. We’re thrilled by the music they’ve been making, and know that their music will make the Rock Opera a truly unique production.
Students in our songwriting class are mapping out the Rock Opera’s libretto—that’s the words that become the music for the opera, and that drive the story. Spoiler alert: the libretto involves a melancholy poet whose words transform into something sinister. How cool is that?
We’ve got more exciting opera-related classes to come in winter and spring. We’ll have a visual art class focused on set design, and students’ creations will be animated and projected onto screens for the production. Graphic design students will learn the nuts and bolts of creating visually stimulating—and accessible—marketing materials for the show, and will design the printed programs.
Auditions for lead roles will occur in January—students, stay tuned!—and students cast as leads will receive one-on-one vocal coaching with Portland Opera staff beginning in February. We’ll also be auditioning non-vocal roles in June. These roles will focus on movement and choreography, and are perfect for students uncomfortable with singing or speaking.
However, one thing we’re especially excited about in this production is that any student who wants to be involved in this project will have a role. We’ll have an all comers chorus, and any student can be a part of it. Rehearsals for the chorus will begin in the summer, and the chorus will play an invaluable role by carrying the music and setting the tone of the rock opera.
We’re thrilled to see our students leading the way—drafting the story, developing the visuals, and more. The Rock Opera is being developed week by week, and we can’t wait to see what our students create. In the meantime, mark your calendars for our Winter Concert on December 12. Choir, Rock Ensemble, and iPad Ensemble students—along with special guests—will be serenading the audience with rock opera hits. You won’t want to miss it.