The Use of Jazz in Opera

The Use of Jazz in Opera

Date: December 1995
Creator: Ottervik, Jennifer
Description: Methods of incorporating jazz in opera range from using simple blue notes and fox-trot rhythms, to utilizing jazz instruments, to employing elaborate passages of improvisation. Current definitions of "jazz opera" do not consider variations in the genre, which, because of their evolving nature and the varied background of their composers, are diverse. This study attempts to collectively discuss these third-stream works. Jazz rhythms and harmonies first appeared in the 1920s in the works of Gershwin, Harling, Krenek, and Freeman. In 1966, Gunther Schuller was the first composer to use improvisation in an opera, which has become the primary distinguishing factor. There has since been a tremendous interest in this genre by such jazz musicians as Dave Burrell, Anthony Davis, Duke Ellington, Max Roach, Anthony Braxton, George Gruntz, and Jon Faddis.
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The Cimbasso and Tuba in the Operatic Works of Giuseppe Verdi: A Pedagogical and Aesthetic Comparison

The Cimbasso and Tuba in the Operatic Works of Giuseppe Verdi: A Pedagogical and Aesthetic Comparison

Date: August 2010
Creator: Costantino, Alexander
Description: In recent years, the use of the cimbasso has gained popularity in Giuseppe Verdi opera performances throughout the world. In the past, the tuba or the bass trombone was used regularly instead of the cimbasso because less regard was given to what Verdi may have intended. Today, one expects more attention to historical precedent, which is evident in many contemporary Verdi opera performances. However, the tuba continues to be used commonly in performances of Verdi opera productions throughout the United States. The use of the tuba in the U.S. is due to a lack of awareness and a limited availability of the cimbasso. This paper demonstrates the pedagogical and aesthetic differences between the use of the tuba and the modern cimbasso when performing the works of Giuseppe Verdi operas.
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Mozartean Gesture and Rhetoric in Hummel's Concerto for Trumpet

Mozartean Gesture and Rhetoric in Hummel's Concerto for Trumpet

Date: May 2008
Creator: Phillips, Edward
Description: Hummel's Concerto for Trumpet (Concerto a Tromba principale) is overtly operatic and is stylistically reminiscent of Mozart's Don Giovanni. Using the methodology of Leonard Ratner and Wye J. Allanbrook, it is possible to explore gesture and rhetoric in Hummel's Concerto for Trumpet and Mozart's Don Giovanni, and achieve a deeper understanding of the stylistic similarities shared between the two works. In the third movement, dance is the most significant link to Don Giovanni. In the second movement, Hummel alternates between the emotions of Donna Anna and Don Ottavio as they appear in act 1, scene 13. The first movement makes extensive use of contrasting topics identified with buffa and seria characters to advance the musical narrative. Comparing Hummel's concerto and Mozart's opera is a hermeneutical approach that illuminates several performance practice implications. Knowing the expressive similarities and rhetorical strategies common to both works clarifies several issues, such as tempo, ornamentation, and above all, expression. Though Mozart's Don Giovanni and Hummel's Concerto for Trumpet are unequal in significance, it would be valuable to any interpretation of Hummel's concerto if the performer and audience acknowledge that the work is rhetorically and stylistically similar to Mozart's Don Giovanni.
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Matador

Matador

Date: May 1998
Creator: Patino, Julio
Description: Matador is an opera scored for orchestra, mixed chorus and soloists (mezzosoprano, 3 tenors, 2 baritones). The work is in one act divided into two main sections. Each of these sections is divided into subsections. The libretto is aphoristic in nature and dictates the form of each of these subsections. The division into two parts also serves as a means to evoke a sense of hopelessness of emotions in the first and a transforming disposition that culminates in a jubilant song in the second.
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Michael Nyman: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

Michael Nyman: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

Date: May 2008
Creator: Avant-Rossi, Joan
Description: Composer Michael Nyman wrote the one-act, minimalist opera The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, based off the neurological case study written by Oliver Sacks under the same title. The opera is about a professional singer and professor whom suffers from visual agnosia. In chapter 1, the plot and history of the opera are discussed. Chapter 2 places The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat alongside a selection of minimalist operas from Philip Glass and John Adams. Chapter 3 contains a history of the Fluxus art movement and shows where Fluxus-like examples appear in the opera. Chapter 4 includes Nyman's usage of minimalism, vocal congruencies, and Robert Schumann as musical elements that convey the drama.
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Reconstructing Convention: Ensemble Forms in the Operas of Jules Massenet

Reconstructing Convention: Ensemble Forms in the Operas of Jules Massenet

Date: December 2004
Creator: Straughn, Gregory
Description: Over the last quarter-century, scholars have taken a unified approach in discussing form in Italian and French opera of the nineteenth century. This approach centers around the four-part aria and duet form begun by Bellini, codified by Rossini, modified by Verdi, and dissolved by Puccini. A similar trajectory can be seen in French opera in the works of Meyerbeer, Gounod, and Massenet; however, only Meyerbeer and Gounod have received significant critical attention. This is in part due to Massenet's reception as a "composer for the people," a title ill fitting and ripe for reconsideration. This dissertation will examine duet forms in Massenet's oeuvre and will focus on the gradual change in style manifest in his twenty-five operas. Massenet's output can be divided into three distinct periods delineated by his approach to form. Representative works from each period will show how he inherited, interpreted, thwarted, and ultimately rewrote the standard formal conventions of his time and in doing so, created a dramaturgical approach to opera that unified the formerly separate number-based elements. Massenet's longevity and popular appeal make him the quintessential French opera composer of the fin de siècle and the natural choice for examining reconstructed conventions.
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Accessibility and Authenticity in Julia Smith's Cynthia Parker

Accessibility and Authenticity in Julia Smith's Cynthia Parker

Date: December 2007
Creator: Buehner, Katie R.
Description: In 1939, composer Julia Smith's first opera Cynthia Parker dramatized the story of a Texas legend. Smith manipulated music, text, and visual images to make the opera accessible for the audience in accordance with compositional and institutional practices in American opera of the 1930s. Transparent musical themes and common Native Americans stereotypes are used to define characters. Folk music is presented as diegetic, creating a sense of authenticity that places the audience into the opera's Western setting. The opera is codified for the audience using popular idioms, resulting in initial but not lasting success.
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The Effects of Jackpots on Responding and Choice in Two Domestic Dogs

The Effects of Jackpots on Responding and Choice in Two Domestic Dogs

Date: May 2010
Creator: Muir, Kristy Lynn
Description: The current study investigated the impact of delivering a jackpot on response rate and response allocation in two domestic dogs. For the purpose of this research, a jackpot was defined as a one-time, within-session increase in the magnitude of reinforcement. Two experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of delivering a jackpot in both single-operant and concurrent schedule procedures. Experiment 1 investigated the impact of a one-time, within-session increase in the magnitude of reinforcement on response rate in a single-operant procedure. Results of Experiment 1 showed no clear change in response rate after the delivery of the jackpot. Experiment 2 investigated the impact of a one-time, within-session increase in the magnitude of reinforcement on response allocation in a concurrent schedule procedure. Results of Experiment 2 showed an increase in response allocation to the jackpotted contingency in both subjects. These results suggest that a jackpot, as defined here, has no effect in single-operant procedures while having an effect in concurrent schedule procedures. These effects are similar to those reported in the magnitude of reinforcement literature.
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A Performer's Analysis of Dominick Argento's Miss Havisham's Wedding Night

A Performer's Analysis of Dominick Argento's Miss Havisham's Wedding Night

Date: May 2010
Creator: Mott, Jammieca D.
Description: Dominick Argento's Miss Havisham's Wedding Night is the least explored of his artistic output. A monodrama in one act for soprano, Miss Havisham's Wedding Night contains some of Argento's most beautiful and challenging music of his compositional output. The purpose of a detailed analysis of the structure and content of Argento's Miss Havisham's Wedding Night is to facilitate the solo vocal performer's interpretation. Argento's setting of Miss Havisham's Wedding Night is unique in that he musically translates the manic psychological state of the literary character. Argento structured the one act opera in such a manner that the music would illuminate the text and the audience might connect with the unstable psychological episodes and outbursts demonstrated by Miss Havisham. To that end, each section and phrase has its own psychological motivation, which in turn demands a varied musical and dramatic interpretation. Utilizing selected scenes from Miss Havisham's Wedding Night, the researcher will analyze Argento's musical manifestation of Dickens's literary work. This research will include an investigation into the manner in which Argento uses the shape of melody and the musical phrase along with the harmonic materials to enhance the text and dramatic content. The author will explore the musical nuances Argento ...
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Uniting Commedia Dell’arte Traditions with the Spieltenor Repertoire

Uniting Commedia Dell’arte Traditions with the Spieltenor Repertoire

Date: May 2012
Creator: Trahan, Corey
Description: Sixteenth century commedia dell’arte actors relied on gaudy costumes, physical humor and improvisation to entertain audiences. the Spieltenor in the modern operatic repertoire has a similar comedic role. Would today’s Spieltenor benefit from consulting the commedia dell’arte’s traditions? to answer this question, I examine the commedia dell’arte’s history, stock characters and performance traditions of early troupes. the Spieltenor is discussed in terms of vocal pedagogy and the fach system. I reference critical studies of the commedia dell’arte, sources on improvisatory acting, articles on theatrical masks and costuming, the commedia dell’arte as depicted by visual artists, commedia dell’arte techniques of movement, stances and postures. in addition, I cite vocal pedagogy articles, operatic repertoire and sources on the fach system. My findings suggest that a valid relationship exists between the commedia dell’arte stock characters and the Spieltenor roles in the operatic repertoire. I present five case studies, pairing five stock characters with five Spieltenor roles. Suggestions are provided to enhance the visual, physical and dramatic elements of each role’s performance. I conclude that linking a commedia dell’arte stock character to any Spieltenor role on the basis of shared traits offers an untapped resource to create distinctive characterizations based on theatrical traditions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
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