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Rocktopia uses Kashmir

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ROCKTOPIA is a musical revolution that celebrates the fusion of the greatest classical music ever written with some of the best rock songs of the past century. ROCKTOPIA showcases the works of musical innovators including Mozart, Journey, Handel, U2, Tchaikovsky, Heart, Beethoven, Styx, Foreigner, Rachmaninoff, Pink Floyd, Copland, The Who and more.

Created through the unique vision of vocalist and recording artist Rob Evan – Broadway’s Jekyll and Hyde, Les Miserables and a member of the multi-platinum-selling Trans-Siberian Orchestra – and Maestro Randall Craig Fleischer, a pioneer in the fusion of symphonic rock and world music, whose compositions have been performed by the Boston Pops, National Symphony and more, ROCKTOPIA delivers one-of-a-kind, spine-tingling musical arrangements with insanely talented lead vocalists, a 5-piece rock band, a choir of 40, and an orchestra of 20.

Developed over eight years, ROCKTOPIA is inspired by the idea that if Beethoven or Mozart were alive today, they would be modern-day rock stars. With extensive knowledge of both genres, Evan and Fleisher looked for common themes, potency, and emotional resonance in the songs before fusing them together to create explosive and moving new musical arrangements...

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Rocktopia is a touring concert musical.

Here's their description:

"A rule-busting multimedia extravaganza, ROCKTOPIA fuses the most iconic 20th-Century rock with the most world-renowned classical compositions. Five world-class vocalists—backed by a full symphony orchestra, an electrifying rock band and a powerhouse choir—take the very concept of music itself to electrifying new heights.

The anthems of Queen and Journey meet the odes of Beethoven. The power of Zeppelin merges with the poetry of Puccini. The greatness of The Who blends with the grandeur of Strauss. This is the one-of-a-kind sound of ROCKTOPIA. See it. Hear it. Believe it"

Kashmir/Nessun Dorma

Knowing that Nessun Dorma would probably end Act I of the show, I knew I had to come up with something spectacular. Nessun Dorma is one of the most famous songs in human history, written by Giacomo Puccini for his opera Turandot. It’s a bazaar plot twist where the heroic male character agrees to be executed if he cannot answer a profound riddle. If he answers the riddle correctly however, the beautiful Princess agrees to marry him. Wow!

The combination of Kashmir and Nessun Dorma was not exactly new to Rocktopia, others have done that, so Rob and I discussed that we had to reinvent this idea and make it uniquely Rocktopia. The musical climax at the end of Nessun Dorma in its original Puccini form was already tremendous. I need to make it even bigger. I once again looked to the soaring group scenes from the operas I love to help me construct this sequence. I knew I wanted to start small and simple and build through a series of climactic levels to an enormous summit at the end. I wanted Rocktopia to end Act I with a big ovation and wanted to give Rob the enormous vehicle his talent deserves. Okay – this had to be something special!

Let’s start small, intimate. I crafted a simple arpeggiated piano accompaniment to start Kashmir. It is almost a Schubert-like classical texture with just piano and voice making the Zeppelin melody and those brilliant lyrics more than just another rock song – it’s now “art song”. I took a long time spinning out that texture before I finally bring in the entire orchestra and rock band in one thunderous entrance. Then – transitioning in a sort of exploratory modulation, we get to Nessun Dorma.

I wanted to return to the original orchestration from Puccini’s masterpiece and layer in the rock band as the song builds. I also had to be careful that our version was different. So, I went about re-ordering and reconstructing one of the most celebrated songs in history. Yikes! It ain’t broke! Mostly I did stick with the general arc of Puccini’s original song adding some of the rock high points from Kashmir and using some other modulations from Rob Evan’s show Rock Tenor which didn’t appear in the original. Puccini’s song builds to such a magnificent climax, I left that alone just adding chorus and rock band. Rob decided to distribute some of the song to Tony Vincent, breaking up the dramatic arc a little bit and adding a layer of variety which was refreshing. All in all, it worked, giving RT the dramatic rock/opera ending to Act I that we needed! We really did, “…find the perfect truth…”

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