We’ve spoken about opera occasionally on a few Scoring Notes episodes — like in the 2-parter we did on lyrics, for instance. But a genre as big and complex as opera deserves our uninterrupted focus. Around for centuries as an art form, opera continues its appeal through the present day, with many contemporary composers working in this area, including a few that have made it their specialty.
Due to its length, large forces and form, multiple movements, revisions, vocal elements, piano reductions, and more, if you’re working with opera, you stand to benefit from a strong knowledge of different areas of music notation software.
Joshua Luty joins Philip Rothman and David MacDonald to talk all about the intersection of the timeless art form of opera and the use of technology to help prepare it. Joshua is the music librarian for the Houston Grand Opera and serves with Philip on the MOLA Technology Committee. You won’t have to search too hard to find his expert advice on the some of the Dorico and engraving forums on the socials.
In addition to those credentials, Joshua’s the editor and rental librarian for the composer Joel Thompson, and the Former Lead Editorial Assistant for the George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition at the University of Michigan’s Gershwin Initiative, and has had other notable positions in the music field.
Joshua takes us behind the curtain and into the dungeon of the opera music library, preparing a new opera from conception to workshop to revisions and finally performance. We discuss the mix of old-fashioned and new technology that Joshua and his colleagues use to make it all happen, and learn some surprising facts about the process.
We also get essential advice about the importance of vocal scores, preparing parts, how to label inserts, cueing, and printing. Whether or not you work on opera, this podcast episode “sets the scene” with practical advice that you can “act” on when using music notation software and related technology to produce your next creation.
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