Today is the world premiere of Pills or Serenades (a study in moods and modes) by Brazilian composer Chico Mello
Pills or Serenades is an opera of sorts. People sing. People play instruments. People walk across stage. They also do things. They stand up and they sit down. They sing “darf” (German for “may”) quite a lot. The set is designed and they wear costumes. It is 80 minutes long.
This is what the press kit has to say about what all this:
The work resembles a sensuous test assembly that enables comparative listening. Ambiguous text sequences are set to music in a “vowels-generated” way: a certain sound of a modus or scale is assigned to each vowel. In this way, the text determines the melody and the implied assessments of traditional melodic phrases are set to music multiple times so that the texts can seem happy, sad, even-tempered or exaggerated.
The viewer is observer and witness of this emotional rollercoaster between natural participation and enjoyment of a highly artificial language, moods as artefacts.
Well, the ensemble is impressive. A lot of rehearsal time has gone into this piece. They are in sync. They breathe. So far so wonderful. But … whatever the idea behind all this is, all this work, all this orderly walking and singing and breathing, all these notes and phrases exemplify that book-keeping differs significantly from book writing.