Interview with Composer Andy Vores Guerilla Opera


Chrononhotonthologos is a 1736 play I think? which I read first when I was an English major at university and I kind of forgot about it, and then I was thinking of another vehicle for Guerilla and I really wanted a piece which was splashy and messy I wanted something which was about moral ambiguity and I wanted something which is funny. and Chrononhotonthologos, as you might guess from the title, is a big spoof parody of tragedies and high art theatrical high art from the 18th century The other characters are the two courtiers, Aldiborontiphoscophornio & Rigdum-Funnidos Queen Fadladinida and her maid Tatlanthe and so on. so everything’s Overblown, Highfalutin everything is exaggerated. as with any Shakespearean play. the play has a prologue given by the poet, and the poet just says welcome to the play This is what we’re going to do tonight. the poet doesn’t appear again in the play But I kept thinking about that character and what else to do with the the singer who comes on stage at the very opening and I wanted to contextualize this selfishness and an anarchic disregard for others which the play embraces and I was thinking about Matthew Arnold’s poem Dover Beach. Dover Beach is talking about how these foolish cycles of selfishness and delusion keep coming round in history again and again he’s talking about- he references first of all Socrates, he references the Romans, he references ancient history And this is written on the eve of the first world war. he’s talking about how these cycles keep returning. What Dover Beach does is it gives a much more serious context for all of this anarchic craziness so, yeah, I think it’s fine to be using an 18th century play with a 19th century poet talking about things which are yet again circling around us in America in 2017 I think partly why It’s not done a lot is because it’s it’s a bit of a mess actually, and it’s hard to do, and all it really does is spoof. but again, that’s a wonderful vehicle for an opera because the libretto doesn’t have to be meted out carefully so as people listen to the beauty of the words it rushes past because the events are a broad and big and the characters are, so it’s the kind of attention to text that you need in a play I always find is a problem of the libretto anyway, and so it’s suited ideally. As I was saying before you know it’s purpose is just parody and bombast and then when you get to Dover Beach at the end- which is introduced gradually I should say, in cycles That is much easier then to focus on because you have all of this brouhaha and noise and mess around it and that will be very very calm and focused and centered, with the solo voice singing it so that will also throw up- throw that into relief as well but hope so [laughter]