AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

Toward a hybrid music theatre: Exploring avant-garde compositional techniques within a commercial form

by P Seward

Institution: University of Salford
Year: 2014
Keywords: Media, Digital Technology and the Creative Economy
Record ID: 1391301
Full text PDF: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/31993/


Toward A Hybrid Music Theatre explores the coming convergence between the English-language musical theatre and contemporary opera. The research focuses specifically on the implementation of avant-garde compositional techniques within a commercial music theatre form. Areas of application include practices in narrative structure, multiplicity of character portrayal, instrumental and vocal characterizations, vocal writing, and soundscape narrative. Works by Italian and American twentieth-century composers have been examined for the use of such techniques including Luigi Dallapiccola, Luigi Nono, Bruno Maderna, Luciano Berio, Leonard Bernstein, and Stephen Sondheim. Works such as Berio’s "Outis" and Sondheim’s "Merrily We Roll Along" have influenced the thinking on narrative structure, while Dallapiccola’s "Volo di notte," Maderna’s "Don Perlimplin," and Sondheim’s "Into The Woods" have contributed to the discussion of instrumental and vocal characterizations. Choral techniques such as those found in the works of György Kurtág and Krzysztof Penderecki influenced the quasi-soundscape effects. Three full works accompany the portfolio, "The Proposal," "The Passion of John" and "The Rose Prologues." The work embodied in these projects represent a significant development to the journey moving toward hybridity. The narrative structure of "The Proposal" addresses two sides of a musical story told simultaneously. The two primary characters are portrayed by seven singers and various instruments. "The Passion of John" explores timbre, time and space as a means of musical storytelling while "The Rose Prologues" explores a single image from multiple perspectives in short-form opera. The direction taken with these works lays out a path for future composers to explore.