Now that I'm finally done with my college auditions, I will now resume to blog my brains out at my lovely Freako Diva. But before I can actually come up with entertaining content, I would like to share all of my college application essays. I put such an effort into them and shed so much sweat and blood over them that it would be so anti-climactic not to share them here.
I would like to begin my essay-posting process with a little operatic satire. This was the prompt for the famous Juilliard School of Music, and I think my response to this absolutely awesome prompt is worth sharing.
Prompt: If you could introduce two artists for a collaborative production, who would they be, and what might they make? Provide details that would encourage us to attend the performance.
A colorful blend of American and European art produces an opera production worth the outrageous ticket price. Experience the evening of your lifetime with all-time favorite tongue twisters set to beautiful Bel Canto music. The opera, Yopp, will be written by Gioacchino Rossini on the libretto by Dr. Seuss.
The plot will consist of characters from several Dr. Seuss stories who will interact with each other and produce conflicts and their resolutions, with a hint of intrigue. There will be love triangles, unrequited love, revenge, assassination, framing, betrayals, forced betrothals, and possible murder; but at the end, everyone will rejoice nonetheless. Characters from different Dr. Seuss stories will interact and create a new plot rich with enticing developments involving the actions listed above. These dramatic plot developments will produce a much wanted spice-up to Dr. Seuss’s typical comedic development and Rossini’s stunning sense of conflict and resolution. We will include a thunder sound effect produced by the most advanced technology of the 21st century: the thunder sheet. For those who have never had the chance to experience the wondrous effects of the thunder sheet are in for a real treat.
Yopp will be a three hour long opera with an immense cast of singers of elephantine fame. (For marketing purposes, I have attached a potential cast list to my pitch as well as an excerpt of the potential score.) The plot will be of an original manner but created with characters already present in Dr. Seuss’s stories. The libretto will be written in Dr. Seuss’s typical writing style, lacking obscure vocabulary but deep and meaningful nonetheless. The plot of the opera will also be in Dr. Seuss’s style, with lots of political innuendos as well as confusing plot twists, a trait shared by both masters. The overture will be written in Rossini’s Bel Canto style, and will possess several leitmotifs. The vast majority of characters and situational conflicts will have their own leitmotif, and most of those themes will hopefully be traceable in the overture (depending on what Maestro Rossini decides). Coloratura will be a recurring embellishment in the opera as well as lengthy and comedic duets, trios, quintets and more. There will be a chorus of Tweetle Beetles and Who-ville citizens, as well as an onstage band of pigs. (This band will serve as a comedic relief in this psychological rollercoaster of an opera.)
Both Rossini and Dr. Seuss have similar techniques of building up tension using comedic aspects of their craft. They feed the consumer, reader, or listener themes that are rich with political disputes and psychological aspects of society without the consumers realization of it. Rossini’s works display strong cultural values regarding gender roles and status roles of people. In Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Rossini uses comedy to portray a typical case for the time of a guardian isolating his ward from society in order to easily marry her and then take possession of all her inheritance. Despite the comedic mood of the opera, the topic can be considered quite the tragedy for those times and for all the young women who were unable to get themselves out of the unfortunate situation. Rosina was lucky in many ways. First, she was highly intelligent and extremely risky. Second, she was dealing with Dr. Bartolo who obviously had a low IQ to begin with. Third, she was able to stay on good terms with Figaro, profiting her greatly for she had an insider, someone within the walls of Dr. Bartolo’s household, on her side. And lastly, Rosina’s main portion of luck came from her having Count Almaviva fall in love with her. Count Almaviva sat higher than Dr. Bartolo on the status ladder, enabling him to overpower the guardian socially, physically, and mentally, which lead to his eventual marriage with Rosina.
Dr. Seuss has very similar developments in his books. Most, if not all, of his stories have political and economical backgrounds. In Horton Hears A Who, Dr. Seuss explicitly implies a group of people who are being oppressed and who are working hard to have their voice heard. Who-ville citizens are faced with a challenge to be heard before the kangaroos and monkeys boil them alive. Despite the seeming unrealistic scenario, this is a generalization of oppression. In The Sneetches, Dr. Seuss draws out a segregated society of Star-Bellied Sneetches and Plain-Bellied Sneetches, the latter oppresses the former for not having stars on their belly. Dr. Seuss then proceeds to introduce a new character, Sylvester McMonkey McBean, who charges the Plain-Bellied Sneetches for placing stars on their bellies. When the Star-Bellied Sneetches panic that the Plain-Bellied ones are getting stars, Sylvester offers to remove the stars from Star-Bellied Sneetches. This cycle goes on and on and ends when Sylvester packs up all of the Sneetches’ cash that he has collected and runs off, leaving the Sneetches in a jumble of chaos that magically resolves into universal acceptance. This story demonstrates how large groups of people can sometimes act like a herd of sheep. They succumb easily to peer pressure and societal norms and often times than not end up spending an unnecessarily large amount of money on beautification processes they don’t necessarily need. Dr. Seuss shows how public opinion, or society, tend to amplify the importance of trivial things, such as seeing the barber every month, getting your nails done, and having a specific brand of clothing or shoes, while glossing over more important things such as public education, clean air, and affordable and safe water for everyone. Sylvester is a symbol for an organization that makes money on people’s weaknesses, while never actually helping them solve any of their real problems. Sylvester pretends to be able to solve the Plain-Bellied Sneetches’ problem and then the Star-Bellied Sneetches’ problem. At the end, nobody is the winner but him, and only because he successfully robs an entire society of individuals with their consent and approval, even making them believe that their money was well spent. Quite the children’s story! Rossini and Dr. Seuss are compatible artist in many more aspects than those presented in the pitch, and I welcome you to attend the world premiere and experience for yourself what a masterpiece can be produced if these two talents collaborate and invest their efforts into one, joint project.
The list below contains all of the prominent characters in the plot of Yopp as well as the singers who could potentially be cast for each role. Despite some contradictions that one might see on the cast list regarding the style of Rossini’s music and the quality of each individual’s voice, I assure you that Maestro Rossini has done his best to custom compose the roles for each singer. The role cast to each singer will fully manifest the immense capabilities of each musician. Come to the premiere and experience first hand the fascination and excitement of Yopp, and discover for yourself how much depth and darkness can be found in any human being if looked for hard enough.
(Cast list is no longer available for viewing due to non-existent contracts with very much existent singers.)