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

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 incorporates in an effort to develop and portray Miss Havisham's psychological state. Through an analysis of the orchestral writing the author will show how Argento's aesthetic balance between the music and text represents the emotional and psychological implications of the monodrama.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Mott, Jammieca D.
Partner: UNT Libraries