A New Opera
For A New Generation.
Hal King is a hip hop/r&b style musical set in the jazz era of the late 1950's. Essentially it is a coming of age story amidst politics, war, drugs, jealousy and forbidden love. It blends both classic and modern styles on all levels of art, with music, poetry, costumes, acting, dance and film; being the true "great artwork," achieving a high level in all concentrations. Hal King is a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Henry IV and V modernized in a mid-western African-American town. We have been producing Hal King as an independent film as we feel it allows for new and groundbreaking projects to be created and bring something unprecedented like this to the world. This way it is possible to transform how individuals think about certain people or ideas by offering art from a different perspective. We feel that although Urban arts are in the reach for the everyday person, it often presents a two-dimensional profile of the people and culture. We believe that it is our responsibility to respond to that observation and create what we feel is missing. This is considering the stories themselves, and offering variety in dramatic role options for the plethora of performers of color, as well as those who would appreciate it.
It has always fascinated me that when people sing opera, often in foreign languages, so many people are moved and feel the emotion that comes from the music and performance, unhindered by language, age or culture. This is our passion, to bring people from seemingly different walks of life into the same space to experience the unification of the arts; laughing together, crying together and being inspired to action. It is the storytelling of works like opera and subsequently musical theater, using all of the artistic disciplines in one work that gave the genre its name from the inception, that allows an opportunity for this remarkable interaction.
Hal King in essence it is composed and structured as an opera, both in its intent and function. When opera began, its intent was to include all art with in a great “work” or “operation.” That is the origin of the word. But somewhere it seemed to have lost its way in the midst of flowery melismas, bringing too much focus on one or two portions on the periphery of the work. Later, with others such as Wagner and Verdi, there were attempts to maintain relevance and relationship to the people, but then it became more disconnected and associated to the upper class as things progressed into the 20th century. Hal King, much like Wagner’s “Gesamtkunstwerk,” is the great artwork, connecting to the origins of opera, including high expressions in every concentration of artistic display; music, theater, poetry, visual art, dance and now film, which is often an afterthought when it comes to music storytelling. As much as we love opera, we sometimes feel as it misses the people and gets stuck in what has already happened in the past. There are many attempts today by producers of opera to attempt to draw new fans to the performances, sometimes using different settings, methods of marketing, and outlandish stage directions, but it is only a single bandage over a gushing wound. The difference is keeping with the function and intent and adapting to the culture of the time. So what would be the current artistic expression and culture? Hip Hop. Supposedly the most distant culture in comparison to the seemingly high-brow Classical Opera. But what makes something “Classical” per se? It is the structures and forms that were previously established and utilized regularly as standard for a genre; symphony, piano sonata, scherzo, rondo etc… Hal King is an opportunity to make a modern “opera” that is truly current and equally classic, with respected validity from both vantage points, using the cultural expression of modern urban culture, along with the structures from classical European art, to bridge the gap and bring together people from all walks of life.
I deeply feel that Hal King is an immensely important work, for arts & culture today, as well as unifying people from different walks of life within the common human thread of emotions. It is needed to be experienced by lovers of music and theater worldwide! It has those same musical and aesthetic sensibilities that made Hamilton so successful, and keeps Les Miserables a classic box office smash.