In 2009, Guerilla Opera premiered a chamber opera in Boston by composer Curtis K. Hughes entitled "Say it Ain't So, Joe (a light tragedy)," in a run of sold-out performances that received national attention and critical enthusiasm.
The opera is based around the 2008 Vice Presidential Debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, and other contemporary events, which are used as points of departure for a musical and dramatic exploration of tragic and comic aspects of both characters.
According to the composer, "In composing the music I was inescapably aware that politicians themselves are musicians of a sort. Nuances of tempo, phrasing and pitch language are so integral to the public verbal performances of politicians that in many places I chose to literally incorporate them into the music of the opera. Indeed, in some portions of the opera, you hear the actual 'melodies' of the debate, rendered almost precisely as they were spoken, but in a musical context. The instrumental music sometimes assists in providing dramatic weight to Biden's and Palin's words, while at other times it diverges, or even belittles the candidates. Each member of the audience might have a differing interpretation of the drama, but one certainty is that both Palin and Biden are each the heroes of their own respective stories in this 'light tragedy.' "
In June of 2011, a group of musicians organized by the composer, including members of the original cast, are planning to reconvene to create a polished studio recording of the complete opera for a public CD release later in the year. We are seeking funds through kickstarter in order to cover the costs of this recording project. The money will be used to pay for the rental of recording and rehearsal space in Hebron, NH, to pay for the cost of a recording engineer and equipment for the sessions, and to pay the musicians for the many hours to be spent preparing, rehearsing and recording the music. The cast includes 4 singers and 4 instrumentalists, who will all be traveling to the recording site in New Hampshire for 5 days of intensive rehearsal and recording in order to complete this project.
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