Representations of the Religious Quest on the Post-1945 Operatic Stage
Author: Siglind Bruhn
Publisher: Pendragon Press
In the small list of scholarly works on music after World War II, there are few studies of the operatic repertory and none at all on the surprisingly large number of operas on religious themes. In this interdisciplinary study of thirty-eight music dramatic works on saintly subjects, Siglind Bruhn, distinguished author of such seminal studies as The Temptation of Paul Hindemith and Musical Ekphrasis, asks why this phenomenon occurred in the last half of the previous century and investigates how contemporary composers express spiritual mysteries. The works examined include celebrated masterpieces, lesser works by renowned composers, and gems by composers who were highly esteemed in their own country and time. Although all the works she discusses have been publicly performed and almost half of them commercially recorded, many have never been discussed in print outside their country of origin and none of them has been examined to ask how the musical language and the dramatic elements convey the religous quest in all its complexity. The range of works under scrutiny range from Messiaien's St. François d'Assise to Philipp Glass's Satyagraha; from Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites to Menotti's Saint of Bleecker Street; from Tavener's Mary of Egypt to Tomasi's Miguel de Manana.
"With this overview, Elise K. Kirk provides a lively history of one of America's liveliest arts. A treasure trove of information on a substantial, heretofore neglected repertoire, American Opera sketches musical traits and provides plot summaries, descriptions of sets and stagings and biographical details on performers, composers and librettists for more than a hundred American operas, many of which have received unjustifiably scant attention since their premieres." "From the spectacle and melodrama of William Dunlap's Pizarro, in Peru (1800) and the pathos of Caryl Florio's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1882) to the chilling psychological drama of Jack Beeson's Lizzie Borden (1965) and the lyric elegance of John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles (1991), opera in America displays the energy and diversity of the nation itself. Kirk shows that this rich, varied repertoire includes far more than the familiar jewels Porgy and Bess, Candide, Susannah, and The Consul."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved