Beyond the Human Voice: Francis Poulenc's Psychological Drama La Voix humaine (1958) Metadata

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  • Main Title Beyond the Human Voice: Francis Poulenc's Psychological Drama La Voix humaine (1958)


  • Author: Beard, Cynthia C.
    Creator Type: Personal


  • Chair: Kuss, Malena
    Contributor Type: Personal
    Contributor Info: Major Professor
  • Committee Member: Bush, Deanna
    Contributor Type: Personal
    Contributor Info: Minor Professor
  • Committee Member: Cooper, J. Michael
    Contributor Type: Personal
  • Committee Member: Sovik, Thomas Paul
    Contributor Type: Personal


  • Name: University of North Texas
    Place of Publication: Denton, Texas


  • Creation: 2000-05


  • English


  • Content Description: Francis Poulenc's one-character opera La Voix humaine (1958), a setting of the homonymous play by Jean Cocteau, explores the psychological complexities of an unnamed woman as she experiences the end of a romantic relationship. During the forty-minute work, she sings in a declamatory manner into a telephone, which serves as a sign of the unrevealed man at the other end. Poulenc uses musical motives to underscore the woman's changing emotional states as she recalls her past relationship. The musical dramaturgy in this work resignifies Debussy's impressionist symbolism by collapsing devices used in Pelléas et Mélisande in a language that shifts between octatonicism, chromaticism, harmonic and melodic whole tone passages, and diatonicism. This late work recontextualizes elements in Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites (1953-56), and the end of the opera provides a theme for his Sonate pour Clarinet et Piano(1962), as Poulenc reflects on his youthful encounters with Cocteau, Erik Satie, and Les Six.


  • Library of Congress Subject Headings: Poulenc, Francis, 1899-1963. Voix humaine.
  • Keyword: opera
  • Keyword: musical dramaturgy


  • Name: UNT Theses and Dissertations
    Code: UNTETD


  • Name: UNT Libraries
    Code: UNT


  • Rights Access: public
  • Rights License: copyright
  • Rights Holder: Beard, Cynthia C.
  • Rights Statement: Copyright is held by the author, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.

Resource Type

  • Thesis or Dissertation


  • Text


  • OCLC: 47249033
  • UNT Catalog No.: b2302353
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc2543


  • Degree Name: Master of Music
  • Degree Level: Master's
  • Degree Discipline: Musicology
  • Academic Department: College of Music
  • Degree Grantor: University of North Texas