OPERATIC IMAGES OF THE OTHER: CLASS, RACE, GENDER, AND SOCIETAL CHANGE IN OPERATIC PLOTS.
Burroughs, Peter Joshua
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Music combined with text has been an important vehicle for societal expression since its inception. Opera composers and librettists have used representations of class, race, and gender in operatic plots to provide both a mirror to contemporary societal views and an inspiration for social change. This dissertation project focuses primarily on the representation of otherness in selected operatic works of Mozart, Barbieri, Bizet, Lecuona and Proto. The inclusion of idiomatic folk and popular dance rhythms into compositional styles that predominantly represent upper class characters creates a focus on class, race and gender from a position of heightened social awareness. The project began with the classical period and Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail, moved through the romantic period with Barbieri’s El Barberillo de Lavapiés and Bizet’s Carmen, and culminated in the 20th and 21st centuries with Lecuona’s Maria la O, and Proto’s Shadowboxer. The inclusion of Shadowboxer represented a valuable opportunity to interact with a living composer. In this opera as in the others, class, race and gender are used both as a societal mirror and as a vehicle for social change that is evident through the collaborations of composer, librettist, and ultimately, performer. The enduring quality of the selected operas confirms their importance on the world music stage. This dissertation project is comprised of three recitals and two operatic performances that showcased class, race and gender as identifying character traits in socially responsive music. All events took place on the campus of The University of Maryland, College Park: Raising the Stakes on February 4, 2009, in the Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Shadowboxer, April 17-25, 2010, and Die Entführung aus dem Serail April 9-17, 2011, in the Kay Theatre and Of Many Voices on December 11, 2011, in the Gildenhorn Recital Hall, all part of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Zarzuela from Spain to Cuba was presented on March 9, 2012, in the Ulrich Recital Hall.