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Updated: Sep 5, 2021

And if you got that reference, you must be the CHEF of the FUTURE!!!

But, seriously everybody, I finished Psyche a couple of weeks ago. I got to the end. Wrote the last note. The last word. Stayed true to the ancient story. Imbued it to the best of my ability with the insights of the Jungians (without, you know, banging the audience over the head with it). It. Is. Done. I honestly wasn't sure if I would make it to the finish line. It was looming out there. I knew the trajectory. I just, somehow, had to stay on course. I kept thinking, "If I never write it, it can never be wrong". This was a stymieing thought that made it hard to get out of bed some mornings. I fought it nearly every single day that I was writing it. All one year and twelve days of it. People were asking me if that was because I was worried about the judgment of other people. Of it failing as a work of art in the eyes of -- whomever. And I had to think about that. Was I afraid of harsh criticism? Was I worried that people would hate it in droves? That I would be revealed as a sham? No. Well, those thoughts may come up later in this process, but during the creation itself it was not my governing fear. My fear was that I would not live up to my own expectations. That I wouldn't make, say, Apuleius or Neumann or Canova or other dead entities who’ve had an interest in Psyche’s story proud. That the towering thing that I wanted to see made wouldn't get done. It was a write-the-opera-you-want-to-hear moment. And I think I did that. And now I can worry about how everyone else will receive it. That will come, one hopes. Because if I end up worrying about that stuff it means people will be actually listening to it (and judging it).

So. What happens next? Well, let me backtrack just a little to tell you what came first. Several months back I decided that I needed to find a director, someone with singular vision to help me realize it for the stage. I wanted a partner. A collaborator. Because, let's face it -- writing an opera and libretto by oneself is lonely business. So I did some research on directors around LA who are edgy, interesting, emotional. There was one guy I had my eye on. Michael Matthews. Look him up. He's up for like a gazillion Ovation Awards here in LA right now. An astonishing artist. I cold emailed him. (As a momentary tangent: Let this be a lesson to... anyone. Cold email/contact people. It works sometimes!) His agent got back to me the next day. Michael wondered if I had an outline or something he could look at. I didn't have an outline. I had a complete libretto and mp3 mockups of the entire opera as it stood at that point. I sent them the files. I got a call back from the agent's office. Michael wanted to meet me. Could I come to the agent's office?

Jack and I strategized on that meeting. I mean, really. I had no real money to do an indie production, which at that point was what I thought needed to get done next. I thought I could scrounge up some decent funds if I needed to, but -- really, what did I have to offer this guy?? I was pretty nervous going in to this meeting. I was delving into a new business arena (musical theater production) and really am pretty naive (not in life, you know, just in music theater business-y things) (and I'm sure a whole host of other things not musical theater-y as well). So, I showed up, and these two lovely people met me in the conference room. After I gave them a brief bio on myself (and if you know my professional history, being brief is kind of tricky. Oh, who am I kidding? Being brief is not exactly my strong suit! But still, it was brief for me). Then I asked if Michael had had a chance to listen to Psyche, and if so, what he thought of it. And Victoria, Michael's agent, interjected with, " I was dying to call you yesterday to tell you this, but I wanted to save this for this moment...", at which point Michael informed me that he loved Psyche. I had my big girl suit on, so I didn't cry, but it was tricky for a moment there. Since then, Michael has shared his groundbreaking vision for the work with me. Victoria Morris has become my agent, representing the Psyche property. Michael is my director. PLEASE look him up. He is silly talented. I have a kick-butt NYC theatrical lawyer, Pamela Golinsky, and I've set up an LLC to run the business out of. (Psyche Productions LLC, thank you very much.) We are working to get this puppy in the hands of a commercial producer. We are NOT referring to it as an opera. People picture musty scores sung by people of larger persuasions in languages like Italian when you say “opera”. Let me say for the record: I am not Rossini. Nope. We are currently referring to the work as Psyche: A Modern Rock Opera. It's kind of what it is. Maybe someone out there has a better idea of what to call it.

So, things are happening. On the business end. And I'm really excited. And I'm done (until I need to start making edits, adjustments, rewrites, etc.) and have a complete piece to point to and to try to get up on its feet.

I have plans to write two other operas, both about Greek heroines whose names start with "P". I guess it's going to be the Greek Heroines Whose Names Start with "P" Trilogy. Care to hazard any guesses as to who the other two are?

Thank you, thank you everybody, for following along with me on this journey.

I'll report back when there are new things to report!

xo,

Cindy

 

ORIGINAL COMMENTS

Maria-elisebeth • 2012

Cindy,very glad to hear about the newest developments with Psyche.Very Exciting! So proud of you,and hoping that I will have an opportunity to see it performed! XOXOXO

Cindy Shapiro -> Maria-elisebeth • 2012

Thank you!! It's looking pretty good for a spring Psyche installation event... Will keep everyone posted! xoxo

Bon Shan • 2012

It is an amazing feat, Cin. You have every reason to be proud -- and more good things are coming.

Lisa Creahan • 2012

So proud, woman! You did it.....

cindyshapiro -> Lisa Creahan • 2012

Thank you, sweet thing! Hey -- I saw an artist last week at Hotel Cafe that I'd like to point you to. You'd sound AMAZING singing her stuff. Call me! xoxo

Dale Johnston • 2012

Congratulation, Cindy! You have done what most people never do -- begin a project and see it through to the end. Bravo!

cindyshapiro -> Dale Johnston • 2012

Thank you, thank you Dale!!

zeldman • 2012

Incredible, Cindy. Be proud! :)

cindyshapiro -> zeldman • 2012

Thank you, thank you Jeffrey!!!

Petezeldman1 • 2012

Fantastic news Cindy!! Well done! I can't wait to see/hear it!! Hurray!! You've reached this major hurdle! Onwards and upwards!!

cindyshapiro -> Petezeldman1 • 2 years ago

Thanks, fellow traveler!!

Patti • 2012

It's a huge accomplishment Cindy, and we're very proud of you!

cindyshapiro -> Patti • 2012

Thank you, Patti. That means A LOT to me!

Bon Shannon • 2012

You wrote this as beautifully as you wrote your modern rock opera. I have no doubt it will be a huge success -- even though I am your mother.

cindyshapiro -> Bon Shannon • 2012

Thanks, Mom!

#losangeles #cindyshapiro #greekmyth #newwork #music #composition #psycheamodernrockopera #opera #psyche

Updated: Sep 5, 2021

Some days it's hard to keep going. I wake up, and think, "But, I don't wanna write an opera!!" like someone's making me do it...

But now I have interest and creative buy-in from a variety of people, including my husband, who is music directing the piece. I'll post more details about this hopefully very soon, but suffice to say that there are other people who are now becoming involved. This is kicking my ass. I have a goal of finishing the piece by June of 2012. At that point, more real things can start to unfold, because I will have a product. But right now, I'm still in the process phase.

Most weekdays I either get on my bike and ride the 5 miles, or I drive over to my office. The office is way overly scented. I'm not sure why this is, but fake scent hits you over the head when you enter. While I'm not in love with the cloying aromas in the air, it has now become a "you're at work!" trigger. I make my way back to my little office-that-used-to-be-a-bedroom, open the drapes and the shades, fire up my computer, fill up my water bottle, and decide that, well, there is just nothing else to do but sit there and write.

Since I've moved in I've written the scene where Psyche begins to wanders in search of her husband. The scene where her sisters die an ugly death. The scene where Eros laments all that has transpired. The scene where Aphrodite supplicates Zeus for his help in finding Psyche and bringing her to justice (that is, under Aphrodite's thumb, where she will be punished). The scene where Aphrodite calls Hermes to make a proclamation for the populace to participate in locating Psyche. And, finally, the scene where the people heartlessly hunt for her before she decides that, rather than giving anyone the satisfaction, she will turn herself in.

That's a lot!

But there's a fair amount more to go, and it's pretty important and heady stuff, and needs to be handled just right. If I think about the broad sweep of it too much I get overwhelmed. But if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and writing the next note, somehow it is getting written. For the most part, I'm writing the work in order, but occassionally jump to a piece a few scenes ahead if the muse strikes me.

Jack is really crazy about the work, and has apparently been saying really nice things about me and my creative endeavors behind my back. I get reports back..! He is beginning to get involved in the on-the-ground realities of Psyche for the first time since its inception. He and I are working with someone who is charting all of the music, and Jack is familiarizing himself with the deep ins-and-outs of the piece in order to play and conduct on stage when the time comes.

I have been severely admonished to no longer refer to Psyche as an opera. This is not good for its future commercial path, apparently. So I am trying to get myself out of the habit. But it's really hard to know what to call it. Rock Opera sounds silly. "Well, I'm off to the office to write my Rock Opera!" Weird. Plus, it's not really Tommy, or Jesus Christ Superstar. Although, when thinking through the business of the thing, those are probably the closest templates. Sung-through libretto. "Well, I'm off to the office to write my Sung-Through Libretto!" Doesn't really roll off the tongue. Musical. Perhaps. But, as my brother put it, it puts one in mind of things like, "This Was a Real Nice Clam Bake", and other musty cornball things from Broadway's distant past. Whatever. It doesn't really matter to me at this point. It's just the thing that I'm writing and will keep writing until I'm done writing it.

All for now...

Happy Passover and Easter everyone!

xo,

Cindy

 

ORIGINAL COMMENTS:

Lynnkoff • 2012

WAY TO ACHIEVE GREATNESS!!! YOU ARE AN IMPRESSIVE WOMAN. I WONDER HOW ANTIOCH SURVIVED WITHOUT YOUR LEADERSHIP ON A PASSOVER SEDER. I HOPE YOURS WAS WONDERFUL. XO, LYNN KOFF

Drbon2 • 2012

Couldn't be more proud of you! What talent! What drive! And it's great that you and Jack are collaborating. Keep on keepin' on!

Tiffany • 2012

I'm so thrilled for you!!! I have faith that you'll be wrapping it up before you know it. Can't wait! Would love to get together for lunch/coffee again one of these days. But in the meantime... back to work! ;) Xoxo!

Petifoger • 2012

Keep at it! Sounds exciting. What ever you end up calling it. Nothing wrong with musical. Pete

#psyche #psycheamodernrockopera #opera #greekmyth #composition #newwork #cindyshapiro #losangeles

https://soundcloud.com/cindy-shapiro/amor-con-fortuna

Hello! It's a little blog to talk about this piece I made the other day. I'm taking a class at Antioch LA called Parallel Worlds: Renaissance to Modern Art in Europe and the Americas. Here is a description from the syllabus:

“Parallel Worlds” examines art practices across the hemispheres from 1300 to 1950. The course unpacks the influence and stylistic variances within European (and later international) art during this period. Class sessions are divided into two parts. One half of the class is devoted to observing the art of Europe and its stylistic progressions starting with Giotto in Italy to survey art from the Renaissance, to Mannerism, to the Baroque, etc. The second half of the session explores the colonial counterpart of these movements as seen in the artistic traditions of the Americas (San Miguel de Huejotzingo, the quilts of Gee’s Bend, Frida Kahlo, etc.). Students explore how these styles mixed with the indigenous population and the African peoples, as seen in Mexico, Peru, and the United States. As the course concludes, students examine how the Americas now export their artistic traditions eastward and across the globe.

I decided to do this music project as part of my coursework. We've looked at visual art from the conquered Aztec culture that looked like this:

St. Augustine, rendered in feathers. You can see that it looks like relatively standard iconography from the European Renaissance tradition, only the artisan used feathers to create this work. This is a blending of traditions, the native Aztec tradition with an overlay of European style.

I decided to try to do this with music. Of course, there is nothing in the record about what music might have sounded like in the early-mid 1500s in Mexico. But, looking at the artworks, I imagined a combination of indiginous instruments mixed with courtly music from Spain.

I did a little research on Aztec instruments -- they have been found in the archeological record -- and downloaded an instrument sample package to use in Logic, the sequencer I use for composition. Then I did some research on Spanish music from the early 1500s, around the time of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, and chose a madrigal work by Juan del Encina, who was a court composer.

What I've posted here is the result of this musical experiment.

Thoughts?

 

ORIGINAL COMMENTS:

Joni • 2012

I really like it! I love fusion stuff, and I love the language and the fun rhythms! Go, Cindy!

Tiffany Carmel • 2012

Wow, that's fantastic!!!

J_tichauer • 2012

This is just genius, Cinday! How talented you are!

This Guy • 2012

I think the sound blended well, I love the idea!

Gregory • 2012

What a cool take on a religious icon.

Kimberly Wyatt A • 2012

Just listened in class! Truly amazing!

Rabbi Cantor W • 2012

Very cool!

Dede Nardini • 2012

Your harmonies are brilliant... I feel transported! I can imagine hearing this music in the background while looking at the European artwork from that period.

#cindyshapiro #music #aztecs #madrigals #antiochuniversity #losangeles

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