French Art Songs for High Voice by Famous Opera Composers
Lee, Hyun Min
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Some of the most popular French operas of today, written from 1870 to 1945, are Gounod's Faust, Bizet's Carmen, Saint-Saëns' Samson et Dalila, Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Delibes' Lakmè, Massenet's Manon, Charpentier's Louise, Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande, Ravel's L'Enfant et les Sortilegès, and Poulenc's Dialogues de Carmélites. These composers often composed as many mélodies as operas. However, the public often remembers only one great work of an artist; for many French composers, an opera became their one great work, reaching a wider audience, leaving their mélodies behind. While performing both the operas and mélodies of the above composers, I realized similarities in musical styles between these genres. In this dissertation I will study the mélodies of the famous 19th century opera composers listed above, focusing on where their notable operatic elements appeared in their mélodies. I will also discuss why some mélodies were left in the shadows while others received more recognition. I hope that this dissertation will shine the light once again on the more famous mélodies, and bring the less famous mélodies onto the stage. This dissertation is comprised of La Clemenza di Tito, Les Contes d'Hoffmann, and French art song recital. Unfortunately, Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito has less of a connection with my other performances. While Mozart was a notable opera composer and did compose many art songs, he composed only two songs in French, hence making him less connected to my topic. Therefore, I will focus more on Les Contes d'Hoffmann and the recital. I performed the operas La Clemenza di Tito and Les Contes d'Hoffmann on May 2, 2003 and May 7, 2004 in the Kay Theatre of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. My recital was held on April 22, 2004 in Gildenhorn Recital Hall, also in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Recordings of these performances may be obtained from the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library. I would like to thank God for providing me with this opportunity. I dedicate all of my work to my parents, who are watching me from above.