Here’s the thing: I’m really stuck on the “bridge” portion of the text of Icarus’s first dream aria.
Since one cannot just write climax after climax—well, one could, but that would make one Andrew Lloyd Webber—there must be therefore passages in the piece where the tenor gets to back off a bit. Remember, he’s suspended 20-30 feet above the stage doing God only knows/what the budget will allow. And shirtless, I’m sure.1 Give the man a break.
Since Scott’s text is not regularly metrical, although fairly iambic in the main, that means it will need to “float” above the accompaniment, quasi-recitative, and that’s where I’m having problems. The main feel of the aria is whole and half notes in the accompaniment and quarter notes in the vocal line—all drawn out and soaring. I can keep that going, as I’ve mentioned before, by using the cello line from the opening “I am alone” part, but when I try to put the text in above that using anything but quarter notes (for variety), it sounds wrong. Also, it starts to turn into that plague of modern opera, pointillism. I know, I know, sometimes you just gotta churn through the words to get to the pretty part, but I would love for my stuff to make sense.
The real problem, I think, is that I haven’t gotten that cello line to lie down and behave. It keeps wanting to turn itself into a heroic climax, and it doesn’t need to. It shouldn’t. It should just burble along underneath Icarus until we get back to the next recognizable motif. WHAT IS IT ABOUT “BRIDGE PASSAGE” THAT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND, CELLO LINE?? HENGH???
As you can probably tell by now, I’m procrastinating.
1 This tendency to strip our tenors and baritones is an interesting trend in modern opera; there’s even a website about it. People who discuss the objectification of the female body (viz, Deborah Voigt) in opera don’t give a lot of thought to the fact that as far as I can tell Nathan Gunn has never done a show fully clothed.