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Should I turn my piece into an opera?

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I am writing a story about a group of people lost at sea trying to find land and basing the orchestral music off of that. If I am writing the story anyway, should I turn my symphonic tone poem into a full blown opera? I have never dealt with vocals(though, if I understand correctly, I only need 1 soprano in my vocals because the soprano is so piercing, whereas I might need more altos or tenors), nor have I ever listened to a full Mozart opera(Mozart's operas are the ones I have the most exposure to). Usually, I only listen to the overture of an opera. And the only vocal piece that I have listened to the entirety of is Handel's Messiah Chorus, which isn't exactly an opera, though it isn't far off.

I also am not fluent in either Italian or German, the most common languages used in operas. The only language I'm fluent in is English. Is it okay for me to use English for the vocals instead of trying to get an English to Italian or English to German translator if I do decide to turn it into an opera? Also, I'm not familiar with the opera structure, so having a structural template would work well and would shape my story into something fit for an opera, that is, if I do decide on composing an opera instead of just a symphonic tone poem. I will still use tone painting of course.

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I'm writing a pretty pop-y, English, basic musical theater work, and it's consumed the majority of my time before my year of grad thesis work, and is not even done yet. The fact that it's English is fine, and the fact that you have a story is good, but this will be an incredibly long and involved process if you're not prepared. 
Depending on the style of opera you're going for, you're going to need more than one soprano (study a piece like Los Huguenots by Meyerbeer, for example). Study the difference between the sections of aria (cantabile, cabaletta, tempo di mezzo) and recitative, the different types (simple/dry vs. accompanied) and everything that makes a story flow. 

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If you have never written opera before, I would be inclined to leave it as a symphonic poem, but nothing should stop you from turning it into an opera if you don't want to.

The number of soprani depends on the story, and however many characters. If you are predisposed to not using soprani, then use mezzos.

You can write it in English if you want. Italian and German are used because of the style of language, but many operas have been written in English. If you want to write in a different language, don't use a translator, try to learn it (unless you have a friend who is a native speaker.) You can patch it up later.

Good luck with your project.

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Writing for solo voices is not as easy as it seems. You should listen opera first. Study the types of singers and their tesitura, what can they do and what they can't. Coloratura and drama is, at first, incompatible... Etc.

 

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