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Once On This Island - An Exploration of Nontraditional Casting

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Only in the world of acting can an individual be denied a job simply on the basis of their appearance, and in my thesis, I sought to explore alternatives to this through the concept of nontraditional casting and casting against

Only in the world of acting can an individual be denied a job simply on the basis of their appearance, and in my thesis, I sought to explore alternatives to this through the concept of nontraditional casting and casting against "type", which included the presentation of a full-length production of the musical "Once on this Island" which I attempted to cast based on vocal quality and skill alone rather than taking physical characteristics into account. I researched the history and implementation of nontraditional casting, both in regards to race and other factors such as gender, socio-economic status, and disability. I also considered the legal and intellectual property challenges that nontraditional casting can pose. I concluded from this research that while nontraditional casting is only one solution to the problem, it still has a great deal of potential to create diversity in theater. For my own show, I held the initial auditions via audio recording, though the callback auditions were held in person so that I and my crew could appraise dance and acting ability. Though there were many challenges with our cast after this initial round of auditions, we were able to solidify our cast and continue through the rehearsal process. All things said, the show was very successful. It is my hope that those who were a part of the show, either as part of the production or the audience, are inspired to challenge the concept of typecasting in contemporary theater.

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2014-12

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The compositional styles of Alfredo Casella: an examination of four vocal works

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This paper and its accompanying recital examine three solo vocal works by Italian composer Alfredo Casella (1883-1947): "Larmes" from Cinq Mélodies (Op. 2); "Mort, ta servante est à ma porte" from L'adieu à la vie: Quatre lyriques funèbres extraites du

This paper and its accompanying recital examine three solo vocal works by Italian composer Alfredo Casella (1883-1947): "Larmes" from Cinq Mélodies (Op. 2); "Mort, ta servante est à ma porte" from L'adieu à la vie: Quatre lyriques funèbres extraites du "Gitanjali" de Rabindranath Tagore (Op. 26); and "Amante sono, vaghiccia, di voi" from Tre canzoni trecentesche (Op. 36). Each of these songs is discussed as representative of Casella's three compositional periods. A fourth song, "Ecce odor filii mei" from Tre canti sacri per baritono et organo (Op. 66), is also examined, as an end-of-life composition. Some of the more important solo vocal works composed in each period are mentioned to show where the four selected songs fit into Casella's compositional output and to suggest music for further study or repertoire.

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2014

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Benjamin Britten: composer as conductor and the art of self interpretation

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In the triumvirate of composer-performer-listener, while the listener always wins, the performer is the interpreter through which the listener experiences the writings of the composer. When the composer and performer are combined, however, a unique situation arises: the link from

In the triumvirate of composer-performer-listener, while the listener always wins, the performer is the interpreter through which the listener experiences the writings of the composer. When the composer and performer are combined, however, a unique situation arises: the link from the composer to the listener becomes a direct line and the composer becomes his/her own interpreter. Such is the case with Benjamin Britten. Britten conducted almost his entire repertoire in recordings for Decca (the exceptions being Paul Bunyan, Owen Wingrave, and Death in Venice). A comparative analysis of the recordings of four of Britten's works, the Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings, Op. 31; Albert Herring, Op. 39; Spring Symphony, Op. 44; and the Nocturne, Op. 60, shows that despite his complaints about performers not following his tempo markings, Britten often deviated from them himself, tending slower. Britten also occasionally added additional rubato, ritardandi, and accelerandi to his works. Additionally, a discrepancy regarding a pitch in the "Prelude" of the Serenade comes to light. Video of Britten conducting the Nocturne in rehearsal with the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) Vancouver provides additional insight into his methodology. Benjamin Britten succeeded as a composer-conductor, and his catalogue of recordings provides essential primary reference material when studying his works.

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2014

Windy City Opera's La Bohème: a case study of producing micro-opera in Chicago

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This research paper recounts the work done in founding an opera company and putting on its inaugural show. It also provides some of the insights acquired during the process, which may be helpful for other future opera producers in creating

This research paper recounts the work done in founding an opera company and putting on its inaugural show. It also provides some of the insights acquired during the process, which may be helpful for other future opera producers in creating a framework and guideposts for starting their own companies. The paper consists of two main sections followed by several short appendices.

The first section methodically reconstructs the process by which Windy City Opera's La Bohème was brought to the stage. It covers the background experiences that prompted the author to found her own company, the research and decisions involved, and the interplay between the company's overall goals and the resources available for a first production. The business, casting, rehearsing, and marketing aspects are reviewed in detail, as well as several mistakes that were made during the process that afforded valuable learning opportunities.

The second section follows up on these and other opportunities by sketching an ideal plan that opera startups might follow; the principal topics are timeline, budgeting, fundraising, venue selection, personnel selection, and marketing.

The appendices consist of worksheets and materials meant to illustrate and supplement this written how-to guide, as well as a video of the Windy City Opera production of La Bohème.

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2016

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Social media, marketing, and the opera singer

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ABSTRACT

This research is focused on technology in the arts, social media, and the opera singer. Topics include recent performance trends, social media, marketing techniques, and creating a successful brand. This paper also focuses on how to leverage social media platforms

ABSTRACT

This research is focused on technology in the arts, social media, and the opera singer. Topics include recent performance trends, social media, marketing techniques, and creating a successful brand. This paper also focuses on how to leverage social media platforms build a digital persona, and create an engaged audience. The same techniques used by corporations and opera companies for their social media and marketing strategy can be leveraged to increase brand awareness, build a strong network, and may aid in generating new opportunities for the opera singer.

Key Words: Social Media, Opera Singer, Branding, Marketing, Technology

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2016

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Art songs of Charles Ives: accessible to beginning singers

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The performance of Charles Ives's art songs can be challenging to even the most experienced singers, but to beginning singers, they may be even more so, due to such twentieth-century aspects as polytonality, polyrhythm, tone clusters, aleatoric elements, and quarter

The performance of Charles Ives's art songs can be challenging to even the most experienced singers, but to beginning singers, they may be even more so, due to such twentieth-century aspects as polytonality, polyrhythm, tone clusters, aleatoric elements, and quarter tones. However, Ives used previously existing material, often familiar hymn tunes, as the foundation for many of his art songs. If beginning students first are exposed to this borrowed material, such as a simple hymn tune, which should be well within even the most experienced singer's comfort range, they can then learn this tune first, as a more simplistic reference point, and then focus on how Ives altered the tunes, rather then having to learn what seems like an entirely new melody. In this way, Ives's art songs can become more accessible to less-experienced singers. This paper outlines a method for researching and learning the borrowed materials in Ives's songs that utilize them, and reviews materials already commonly used by voice teachers to help beginning students learn their music. By combining this method, which focuses on the borrowed materials, with standard practices teachers can then help their beginning students more easily learn and perform Ives's art songs. Four songs, from the set "Four Hymn Tune Settings" by Charles Ives are used to illustrate this method.

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2012

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Bringing opera to a small community

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ABSTRACT The purpose of this research project is to provide participants with a personal experience in opera, to change their perceptions and provoke further interest in the art form. By introducing community opera into a society, we can educate and

ABSTRACT The purpose of this research project is to provide participants with a personal experience in opera, to change their perceptions and provoke further interest in the art form. By introducing community opera into a society, we can educate and perhaps expand the acceptance of opera in a population. This document uses The Survey of Public Participation of the Arts by the National Endowment for the Arts in order to provide an accurate account of the declining attendance of opera. Only through education and exposure can we improve opera attendance. In order to create opera appreciation the researcher introduced an applicable opera performance situation in a small community. The process in which the opera was implemented has been evaluated and separated into the following eight components: preparation, rehearsal, set construction and props, pamphlets, budget, advertising, dress rehearsal, and performance. Each will be considered separately. The benefits of that community program and the process in which the opera took place are included in this research.

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2012

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An analysis and discussion of Zwischenfach voices

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Zwischen in the German language means `between,' and over the past century, as operatic voices have evolved in both range and size, the voice classification of Zwischenfach has become much more relevant - particularly to the female voice. Identifying whether

Zwischen in the German language means `between,' and over the past century, as operatic voices have evolved in both range and size, the voice classification of Zwischenfach has become much more relevant - particularly to the female voice. Identifying whether nineteenth century composers recognized the growing opportunities for vocal drama, size, and range in singers and therefore wrote roles for `between' singers; or conversely whether, singers began to challenge and develop their voices to sing the new influx of romantic, verismo and grand repertoire is difficult to determine. Whichever the case, teachers and students should not be surprised about the existence of this nebulous Fach. A clear and concise definition of the word Fach for the purpose of this paper is as follows: a specific voice classification. Zwischenfach is an important topic because young singers are often confused and over-eager to self-label due to the discipline's excessive labeling of Fachs. Rushing to categorize a young voice ultimately leads to misperceptions. To address some of the confusion, this paper briefly explores surveys of the pedagogy and history of the Fach system. To gain insights into the relevance of Zwischenfach in today's marketplace, I developed with my advisors, colleagues and students a set of subjects willing to fill out questionnaires. This paper incorporates current interviews from two casting directors of national and international opera houses, an emerging American mezzo-soprano, a mid-career working European mezzo-soprano, an operatic stage director, an education director for opera houses and a composer. These interviews, along with modern examples of zwischenfach voices are analyzed and discussed.

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2012

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Mozart: a musical advocate

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W.A. Mozart was a masterful creator of music and drama as well as a keen observer of human relationships. Librettists were enamored of his ability to bring their words to life with his music. His truthful portrayal of human relationships,

W.A. Mozart was a masterful creator of music and drama as well as a keen observer of human relationships. Librettists were enamored of his ability to bring their words to life with his music. His truthful portrayal of human relationships, particularly involving women, was highly influenced by his own life experiences. Through these relationships he learned to create characters and music that clearly depict female sibling relationships in the eighteenth century. A review of educational opportunities for women during the eighteenth century, Mozart's personal relationships, as well as selected roles in his operas will help to explain Mozart's portrayal of the eighteenth-century female sibling stereotypes. While Mozart's self-centeredness is well documented in biographies by Cliff Eisen and Ruth Halliwell, and the argument can be made that he surrounded himself with females who fulfilled his needs, he was often drawn to operas in which he could advocate musically for a female character's liberation from the overbearing influence of powerful men. Although Mozart's "musically empowered" women appear in nearly every opera, for the purpose of this paper, I will focus on the characters of Così fan tutte's Fiordiligi and Dorabella, and Le Nozze di Figaro's Countess. First, however, a closer analysis of Mozart's early life and his relationships with his sister and mother is necessary. The ways Mozart set characters created by DaPonte and Beaumarchais cannot be separated from the ways he was taught to appreciate females in his family of origin. Social structure during the eighteenth century dictated a woman's education, responsibility to her family, and therefore, played a fundamental role in defining her life. This situation often created expectations within the birth order that had an impact on sibling relationships as well as individual personalities. Many social and familial influences are represented through the operas of Mozart. Così fan tutte (January 26, 1790) and Le Nozze di Figaro (May 1, 1786) both contain a central female sibling relationship that reflects aspects of Mozart's relationships with women throughout his life.

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2010

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Emily Dickinson's "There came a wind like a bugle--: a singer's analysis of song settings by Ernst Bacon, Lee Hoiby, and Gordon Getty

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Emily Dickinson is a well-known American poet of the nineteenth century, and her oeuvre consists of nearly 2,000 posthumously published poems. Written largely in hymn form with unique ideas of punctuation and grammar, her poetry attracts composers with its inherent

Emily Dickinson is a well-known American poet of the nineteenth century, and her oeuvre consists of nearly 2,000 posthumously published poems. Written largely in hymn form with unique ideas of punctuation and grammar, her poetry attracts composers with its inherent musicality. The twentieth-century American composers Aaron Copland, Ernst Bacon, Lee Hoiby, and Gordon Getty have created song settings of Dickinson's poetry. Copland's song cycle Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson (1949-50) is admired by many as an illustration of poetry; however, the Dickinson cycles by Bacon, Hoiby, and Getty are also valuable, lesser-known representations of her writing. Settings of one poem, "There came a Wind like a Bugle--", are common among Copland's Twelve Poems, Bacon's cycle Songs from Emily Dickinson: Nature, Time, and Space (1930), Hoiby's Four Dickinson Songs (1988), and Getty's The White Election (1982). These latter three settings have previously undergone some theoretical analysis; however, this paper considers a performance analysis of these songs from a singer's point of view. Chapter 1 provides background for this study. Chapter 2 consists of a biographical overview of Dickinson's life and writing style, as well as a brief literary analysis of "There came a Wind like a Bugle--". Chapters 3, 4, and 5 discuss Ernst Bacon, Lee Hoiby, and Gordon Getty, respectively; each chapter consists of a short biography of the composer and a discussion of his writing style, a brief theoretical analysis of his song setting, and commentary on the merits of his setting from the point of view of a singer. Observations of the depiction of mood in the song and challenges for the singer are also noted. This paper provides a comparative analysis of three solo vocal settings of one Emily Dickinson poem as a guide for singers who wish to begin studying song settings of this poem. The Bacon and Hoiby settings were found to be lyrical, tonal representations of the imagery presented in "There came a Wind like a Bugle--". The Getty setting was found to be a musically starker representation of the poem's atmosphere. These settings are distinctive and worthy of study and performance.

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2011