I was out of town last week, so I'm a little late to Steve Hicken's quiz.
1) What five operas would you most like to see performed?
1. Schoenberg: Von Heute auf Morgen. Believe it or not, Schoenberg was actually offered an awful lot of money by a publisher for this piece, but his wife Gertrude thought the publisher was being annoyingly pushy, so Schoenberg turned it down. He credited the refusal with saving his life—had he taken the money, he said, he might have ended up too comfortable to flee the Nazis in time. So how come no publishers are offering to save my life in this way?
2. Britten: Owen Wingrave. His second-to-last opera, a brilliant anti-war ghost story, originally written for television. Just don't let premium cable near it, or Owen will face his family's demons buck-naked. And the demons will be played by B-list starlets. I spoke too soon: that's a travesty I'd actually watch.
3. Tippett: The Ice Break. Some people are vaguely embarrassed by Tippett's self-written libretti, but is there anybody else, in any genre, who goes where he goes? I mean, besides Pink Floyd?
4. Babbitt: Fabulous Voyage. Uncle Milton's 1946 Broadway musical, based on Homer's Odyssey. If Babbitt had gone on to have Jerry-Herman-esque success on the Great White Way, would the alleged serialist hegemony in 1950s and 60s America still have come about? If not, would all those people continually complaining about said alleged hegemony find something else to complain about? Yeah, probably.
5. Stockhausen: Licht: Die sieben Tage der Woche. Bonus points if the production is financed via a series of high-tech international jewel heists.
2) What five pieces would you most like to hear performed?
1. Busoni: Piano Concerto. Anybody who looks at a draft of a massive, late-Romantic concerto and thinks, "You know what this thing needs? A men's chorus!" is my kind of guy.
2. Barraque: Piano Sonata. I've never heard it live.
3. Ives: Symphony no. 4. See above. Might as well throw in Gruppen while we're at it. Think of how many freelancers you could feed with a program like that.
4. R. Murray Schafer: No Longer Than Ten (10) Minutes. For reasons previously noted.
5. Nam June Paik: Danger Music #5. You're going into that whale's vagina a nobody, but you're coming back a star!
3) What five living performers would you most like to meet?
1. Riccardo Muti. I'll invite him over, put on a Pavarotti record, and hide behind the furniture.
2. Jean-Yves Thibaudet. I could use a makeover.
3. Placido Domingo. Mr. Domingo, I have this album you recorded with John Denver that I'd love for you to sign... Mr. Domingo? Where are you going?
4. Jessye Norman. I'd just keep giving her money until she agreed to record the outgoing message on my voicemail.
5. Oscar Peterson.
OP: Hi, I'm Oscar Peterson.
Me: OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG
4) What five living composers would you most like to meet?
After ten minutes of thinking, "Oh, yeah, I'd like to meet him/her; oh, wait a minute, I already did," I gave up. Hanging around Tanglewood for the better part of seven summers will do that. Not that any of them would remember me, anyway. (Five that are fun to meet, if you haven't already: Steven Mackey, Marjorie Merryman, Tan Dun, Andre Previn, Osvaldo Golijov.)
5) What five living musicians (composers, performers, writers, scholars, etc) would you most like to play three-on-three basketball with/against?
Alicia de Larrocha
I like those odds.