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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

An Inconvenient Opera

posted by on June 17 at 11:28 AM

Following the news last month that “An Inconvenient Truth” is being adapted into an opera, The New York Times responds with a (fictional) letter from the composer, Giorgio Battistelli, to Gore.

This is my favorite section. Poor Gore. The idea that he would create a theoretical formula to generate a melody—and that the melody would then actually be unlistenable—is somehow perfect.

Dear Mr. Gore:

… During Algorino’s instruction in the Weather Seer’s castle, you again accuse me of “caving” to the critics by omitting your famous chart correlating rising temperatures and rising carbon dioxide over the past 600,000 years. But it is of no consequence to me which came first, the carbon dioxide or the temperature. As an artist, I simply felt it would be jarring to interrupt the Seer’s aria with a PowerPoint presentation.

I did plan to use a simpler chart etched on the castle wall for the duet we originally planned for Algorino and the Seer. I loved your idea of matching the musical notes with the graphs of temperatures and CO2 concentrations, but the resulting melodies were unfortunate. I was unable to find any tenor or baritone able to sing either of the graphs. A pity—as you said, the High C0 Duet would have been “an opera first.”

I don’t share your fear that audiences will expect Prince Algorino to “offset his travel footprint,” so I don’t see the need for the tree-planting scene you suggest. Once the Weather Seer has explained Poseidon’s passion and shown him the rising seas, Algorino should immediately rush back to save Gaia. And why, with his lover in peril, would he pause en route to rescue a drowning polar bear?

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Judging from the correspondence, I'd bank on unlistenable and unwatchable.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | June 17, 2008 11:43 AM

Isn't the idea of an unlistenable opera redundant?

Posted by Just Sayin' | June 17, 2008 11:50 AM

Sounds so exciting!

Posted by *yawn* | June 17, 2008 11:58 AM

I read somewhere that there's a tempo, devised by the creators of this opera, that will be used whenever Gore is shown. It'll be known as the "Al Gore Rhythm".

Posted by --MC | June 17, 2008 12:10 PM

I'll have to agree with @1.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 17, 2008 12:40 PM

I did a taping at NPR last week for their Bryant Park Project show. We discussed this and the Brokeback Mountain opera. It should be on this week sometime. A total hoot.

Posted by Nick | June 17, 2008 1:35 PM
Posted by steadyjohn | June 19, 2008 7:48 PM

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