Bonetti Amendola secondo Adam Pollock

What does a good contemporary opera composer need? First must still come the traditional virtues, the intelligence to chose a subject and text that will interest and enlighten the public, the ability to inform the audience of a character’s personality through his or her music, the knowledge of how to pace a piece, retaining the flexibility to compose and recompose for the demands of the drama, not to mention the singers and director. Above all the composer must possess the innate capacity to create good theatre, as opposed to simply good music. This last is a gift from the gods and cannot be learnt. It was something that, for instance, Mozart had, but Haydn did not. Finally, we come to the actual music, something that most people would mention first, but which has no use, in opera, if the above quality are not in place. Here we tread on dangerous ground for contemporary music may be more, or less, tonally approachable. But a good composer will always open new aural vistas while engaging an audience. Federico Bonetti-Amendola’s operas abound in all these virtues, with just such musical excitement and theatrical know-how. We are lucky to have him with us.

Adam Pollock