Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



Plumbago_9780993198359_1.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in News

Latest news

 

Bizet’s Carmen Uncovered

https://boydellandbrewer.com/bizet-s-i-carmen-i-uncovered.html

The Operas of Sergei Prokofiev

https://boydellandbrewer.com/the-operas-of-sergei-prokofiev.html

Incoming Artistic Director Rosetta Cucchi announces her 2020 programme inspired by William Shakespeare and the launch of the Wexford Factory Academy for young Irish singers

https://www.wexfordopera.com/media/news/incoming-artistic-director-rosetta-cucchi-announces-her-2020-programme

Music In The Present Tense: Rossini’s Italian Operas in Their Time

https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/M/bo43988096.html

The Last Opera: The Rake’s Progress in the Life of Stravinsky and Sung Drama

http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/product_info.php?products_id=809636

Prokofiev’s Soviet Operas

https://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/music/twentieth-century-and-contemporary-music/prokofievs-soviet-operas?format=HB

The Operas of Benjamin Britten – Expression and Evasion by Claire Seymour

https://boydellandbrewer.com/the-operas-of-benjamin-britten.html

The Opera Singer’s Acting Toolkit

https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/the-opera-singers-acting-toolkit-9781350006454/

The real Traviata. The Song of Marie Duplessis

https://h-france.net/vol18reviews/vol18no52palidda.pdf

Glyndebourne announces new Artistic Director

http://www.operatoday.com/content/2018/08/glyndebourne_an.php

BLACK OPERA: HISTORY, POWER, ENGAGEMENT

A musical challenge to our view of the past

Die schöne Müllerin by Mark Padmore

Opera Rara - How to Rescue a Lost Opera

https://vimeo.com/operarara/how-to-rescue-an-opera

Welsh National Opera explores Madness for autumn season

 

New Releases from Opera Rara

 

A Time-Out With Isabel Leonard: In 'L'Heure Espagnole' at San Francisco Symphony

 

On Site Opera Presents 'Barber of Seville' at Fabbri Mansion on New York’s Upper East Side

 

Il Trittico: Puccini's most underrated opera

 

Bizet's Carmen | English National Opera

 

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

News

20 Dec 2004

Once More, With Feeling

Recorded music has benefited from the digital revolution, with lifelike reproduction possible in a variety of formats. That’s not always a good thing, because professional musicians find themselves competing for work with a device known as Sinfonia. The introduction of this “virtual orchestra” into opera and Broadway pits has stirred resentment, lawsuits and countersuits. Even the definition of what it is has generated heated debate.

Shulgold: 'Virtual orchestra' breeds real rage from musicians

December 18, 2004

Recorded music has benefited from the digital revolution, with lifelike reproduction possible in a variety of formats.

That's not always a good thing, because professional musicians find themselves competing for work with a device known as Sinfonia.

The introduction of this "virtual orchestra" into opera and Broadway pits has stirred resentment, lawsuits and countersuits. Even the definition of what it is has generated heated debate.

Operated by a player who can control tempos and dynamics as a performance unfolds, Sinfonia is equipped with both musical and computer keyboards, samplers, state-of-the-art computers, monitor screens - oh yes, and a place to rest an old-fashioned music score.

It produces sounds amazingly similar to orchestral voices. But is it an instrument or merely a fancy mechanical substitute? Musicians who claim to be put out of work by the thing sneeringly call it a machine. That reaction is upsetting to Sinfonia's inventors, Realtime Music Solutions (RMS). Jeff Lazarus, CEO of the New York-based company, insists it's a musical instrument.

"You could say that a flute is a machine, because it is a device that must be operated by a person in order to do its job," he reasoned. "But we call flutes - and violins and trombones - musical instruments. It's the same with Sinfonia."

Realtime created it in 1999, along with a smaller device called OrchExtra - and in so doing, created a windstorm of controversy.

"The reality is, they're displacing musicians," said Pete Vriesenga, president of the Denver Musicians Association.

Lazarus counters that Sinfonia is "an enhancement for a pit orchestra," noting that the instrument is operated in real time and in conjunction with a gathering of musicians, led by a conductor.

"We've never claimed that this is the same, as good as or better than an orchestra," he said, responding to resentment to its use by the Opera Company of Brooklyn. "Humans are capable of making an infinite variety of sounds. We're always trying to make Sinfonia better, but we can never replace a live orchestra."

[Click here for remainder of article.]

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):