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The Use of Jazz in Opera

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.
Date: December 1995
Creator: Ottervik, Jennifer
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Costantino, Alexander
Partner: UNT Libraries

Mozartean Gesture and Rhetoric in Hummel's Concerto for Trumpet

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.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Phillips, Edward
Partner: UNT Libraries

Matador

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.
Date: May 1998
Creator: Patino, Julio
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Avant-Rossi, Joan
Partner: UNT Libraries

Reconstructing Convention: Ensemble Forms in the Operas of Jules Massenet

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.
Date: December 2004
Creator: Straughn, Gregory
Partner: UNT Libraries

Accessibility and Authenticity in Julia Smith's Cynthia Parker

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.
Date: December 2007
Creator: Buehner, Katie R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Muir, Kristy Lynn
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

Myth in the Early Collaborations of Benjamin Britten and William Plomer

Description: Although the most well-known collaborations of William Plomer and Benjamin Britten are the three church parables (or church operas) - Curlew River, The Burning Fiery Furnace, and The Prodigal Son - by the time of the completion of Curlew River in 1964, the librettist and composer had been working together for well over a decade. During that time, they had completed the opera Gloriana and had considered collaborating on three other projects: one a children's opera on Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Mr. Tod, one on an original story of Plomer's called "Tyco the Vegan," and one on a Greek myth (possibly Arion, Daedalus and Icarus, or Phaëthon). Far from being footnotes to the parables, these early collaborations established Plomer and Britten's working relationship and brought to light their common interests as well as their independent ones. Their successive early collaborations, therefore, can be thought of as a conversation through creative expression. This metaphor of conversation can be applied both to successive collaborations and to the completed Gloriana, in that the libretto and the music can be seen as representing different interpretations of both major and minor characters in the opera, including Elizabeth I and Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. In Gloriana, Britten employed at least three specifically musical methods of challenging the meaning of the libretto: instrumental commentary, textural density, and dramatically significant referential pitches. Plomer and Britten's conversation, carried out through these early collaborations, touches on the function of art, activism, and modern morality, but it is best circumscribed by the concept of myth. Two divergent and very influential interpretations of myth - Matthew Arnold's "sweetness and light" and primal liberation (deduced from Nietzsche) - can be usefully applied to Plomer and Britten's unfolding conversation. The implications of Plomer and Britten's adoption of myth as the topic and ...
Date: August 2005
Creator: Salfen, Kevin McGregor
Partner: UNT Libraries

Reading Handel: A Textual and Musical Analysis of Handel's Acis and Galatea (1708, 1718)

Description: The purpose of this dissertation is two-fold: one is to analyze the narratives of Acis and Galatea written by Ovid, and the two libretti by Handel's librettists including Nicola Giuvo (1708) and John Gay (1718) with John Hughes and Alexander Pope; the other is to correlate this textual analysis within the musical languages. A 1732 pastiche version is excluded because its bilingual texts are not suitable for the study of relationships between meaning and words. For this purpose, the study uses the structural theory- -mainly that of Gérard Genette--as a theoretical framework for the analysis of the texts. Narrative analysis of Acis and Galatea proves that the creative process of writing the libretto is a product of a conscious acknowledgement of its structure by composer and librettists. They put the major events of the story into recitative and ensemble. By examining the texts of both Handel's work, I explore several structural layers from the libretti: the change of the characterization to accommodate a specific occasion and the composer's response to contemporary English demand for pastoral drama with parodistic elements, alluding to the low and high class of society. Further, Polyphemus is examined in terms of relationships with culture corresponding to his recurrent pattern of appearance.
Access: This item is restricted to the UNT Community Members at a UNT Libraries Location.
Date: August 2005
Creator: Chang, Young-Shim
Partner: UNT Libraries

Opera and the Galant Homme: Quinault and Lully's Tragedie en musique, Atys, in the Context of Seventeenth-Century Modernism

Description: The tragedie en musique of Quinault and Lully was a highly successful new genre, representative of contemporary Parisian life. However, it is still largely viewed in the negative terms of its detractors, the proponents of classical tragedy. The purpose of this study is to redefine the tragedie en musique in terms of seventeenth-century modernism. An examination of the society and poetry of the contemporary gallant world provides the historical framework for an analysis of both the libretto and music of Quinault and Lully's Atys (1676). This study attempts to bridge the historical and cultural distances that until now have hindered accessibility to this major new genre in seventeenth-century literature and music.
Date: May 1994
Creator: Browne, Marilyn K. (Marilyn Kay)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Uniting Commedia Dell’arte Traditions with the Spieltenor Repertoire

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.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Trahan, Corey
Partner: UNT Libraries

Violetting Through August’s End (Or the Sunset in Water, the Carillon-chime in Square): an Original Chamber Opera and a Critical Essay on the Trajectory of American Minimalist Opera

Description: When the dust settles, John Adams’s Nixon in China and Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach may stand as the most important operas of the latter twentieth century. The critical essay portion of this thesis examines the trajectory of minimalist opera, from its beginnings with Glass’s Einstein on the Beach through the more romantic operas of John Adams, Steve Reich’s multimedia opera The Cave, David Lang’s musical-influenced The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, and finally the post-minimalist operas currently being staged by young composer Nico Muhly. It examines the differences between the more abstract trajectory established by the early Glass operas and the plot driven trajectory established by operas more commonly associated with John Adams, most significantly Nixon in China. Additionally, the aforementioned pieces are compared and contrasted with the author’s newly composed chamber opera Violetting through August’s End (or the sunset in water, the carillon-chime in square).
Date: December 2014
Creator: Doyle, James Joseph
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Performance Guide to the Dramatic, Vocal, and Musical Challenges of Judith Weir’s Opera, King Harald’s Saga

Description: Judith Weir (b. 1954) composed King Harald’s Saga: Grand Opera in Three Acts for Unaccompanied Solo Soprano Singing Eight Rôles (1979) for radio broadcast. She wrote the libretto for the opera based on Snorri Sturluson’s book, King Harald’s Saga. This opera illustrates Weir’s remarkable compositional style, including her treatment of the libretto in narrative style and her representation of multiple characters by one singer. Despite Weir’s fame as an opera composer, King Harald’s Saga is rarely performed owing to three major musical and performing challenges. These challenges are performer’s ability to delineate eight separate characters (dramatic challenges), to sing wide leaps and long melismas (vocal challenges), and to perform a cappella with wide leaps and complex rhythms (musical challenges). This dissertation presents a performance guide for the soprano addressing these three challenges and suggesting possible solutions. Such a guide will assist the soprano in preparing and performing this grand opera, which thus far has not received the due attention and appreciation of either performers or audiences.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Park, Sang Hee
Partner: UNT Libraries

[News Script: Opera star]

Description: Script from the WBAP-TV/NBC station in Fort Worth, Texas, covering a news story about opera soprano Leonie Rysanek coming to Dallas to make her American debut before joining the Metropolitan Opera.
Date: November 11, 1958
Creator: WBAP-TV (Television station : Fort Worth, Tex.)
Item Type: Script
Partner: UNT Libraries Special Collections

[News Script: Soprano arrives]

Description: Script from the WBAP-TV/NBC station in Fort Worth, Texas, covering a news story about Italian soprano Eugenia Ratti traveling to Dallas to replace Maria Callas in The Barber of Seville.
Date: November 11, 1959
Creator: WBAP-TV (Television station : Fort Worth, Tex.)
Item Type: Script
Partner: UNT Libraries Special Collections

[News Script: Opera]

Description: Script from the WBAP-TV station in Fort Worth, Texas, covering a news story about the NBC Opera and their upcoming tour around the United States. The touring company will consists of 100 people including an orchestra of 40, there will be two people for each main role to alternate every night, the company will be performing "Madam Butterfly."
Date: June 17, 1956
Creator: WBAP-TV (Television station : Fort Worth, Tex.)
Item Type: Script
Partner: UNT Libraries Special Collections

[Letter from Charles B. Moore to Linnet Moore, March 5, 1900]

Description: Letter from Charles Moore to Linnet Moore in which he tells her about the activities of the neighbors, putting in a garden, and the weather. He writes about fences, burning fields, and crops. He asks Linnet to let him know how Paddy performed in his opera role.
Date: March 5, 1900
Creator: Moore, Charles B.
Item Type: Letter
Partner: UNT Libraries Special Collections

[News Script: Opera season opens in Fort Worth]

Description: Script from the WBAP-TV station in Fort Worth, Texas, covering a news story about the opening of opera season in Fort Worth.
Date: November 27, 1951
Creator: WBAP-TV (Television station : Fort Worth, Tex.)
Item Type: Script
Partner: UNT Libraries Special Collections

[News Script: Opera singers]

Description: Script from the WBAP-TV station in Fort Worth, Texas, covering a news story about Metropolitan Opera stars arriving in Dallas to perform at the State Fair Auditorium.
Date: May 8, 1953
Creator: WBAP-TV (Television station : Fort Worth, Tex.)
Item Type: Script
Partner: UNT Libraries Special Collections