Capriccio, By Richard Strauss and Clemens Krauss: Theoretical Discussion as Theatrical Presentation, Together with Three Recitals of Selected Works of Strauss, Wagner, Verdi, Mozart, Britten, and Prokofiev

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In Capriccio. Richard Strauss and Clemens Krauss examine the very nature of opera with the core of their thesis being the relationship of words and music. A work that is, in essence, an extended discussion poses two problems to the composer and librettist: how to sustain the argument of the thesis without losing the attention of the audience, and how to prevent a conversational opera from sounding like endless recitative. Strauss and Krauss manage to present their case without having to resort to an actual discussion for the duration of the opera. Their characters are engaging, identifiable human beings who ... continued below

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x, 37 leaves: ill., music

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Saunders, David Harold August 1986.

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This dissertation is part of the collection entitled: UNT Theses and Dissertations and was provided by UNT Libraries to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 13 times . More information about this dissertation can be viewed below.

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  • Saunders, David Harold

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In Capriccio. Richard Strauss and Clemens Krauss examine the very nature of opera with the core of their thesis being the relationship of words and music. A work that is, in essence, an extended discussion poses two problems to the composer and librettist: how to sustain the argument of the thesis without losing the attention of the audience, and how to prevent a conversational opera from sounding like endless recitative. Strauss and Krauss manage to present their case without having to resort to an actual discussion for the duration of the opera. Their characters are engaging, identifiable human beings who are also allegorical figures. Their participation in the stage action sustains the argument of the thesis even when the dialogue itself addresses other subjects. The players symbolize various facets of opera, theatre, and the public with all of them, principal and secondary characters, being sharply etched. The little stage action that Capriccio does contain is carefully paced and closely coordinated with the presentation of the work's thesis. The octets, similar in dramatic function to the central finale of a Mozart opera buffa, provide the climax of the stage action and come soon after the Fugal Debate, the centerpiece of the collaborators' argument. The final section of the central scene, which also contains the aforementioned octets and Fugal Debate, serves as the denouement of both the plot and thesis. Such close attention to dramatic structure gives Capriccio and the argument it presents cohesion and dramatic shape. The text itself is written in clear, concise prose and is set in Strauss's patented "conversational style." This style, a rapid syllabic declamation, is delivered "mezza voce" in order to simulate natural speech and is sung over continuous melos in the orchestra. This accompaniment keeps it from sounding like dry recitative. This study explores the work's characters, dramatic structure, vocal style, and the issues raised by Strauss and Krauss. Other topics to be addressed include the genesis of Capriccio. how the careers of the composer and librettist led them to write an opera about opera, common criticisms of the work, and Capriccio's place in the operatic repertoire today.

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x, 37 leaves: ill., music

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UNT Theses and Dissertations

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  • August 1986

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  • Aug. 22, 2014, 6 p.m.

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  • April 12, 2016, 10:42 a.m.

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Citations, Rights, Re-Use

Saunders, David Harold. Capriccio, By Richard Strauss and Clemens Krauss: Theoretical Discussion as Theatrical Presentation, Together with Three Recitals of Selected Works of Strauss, Wagner, Verdi, Mozart, Britten, and Prokofiev, dissertation, August 1986; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc331935/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .