Year

1986

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Hons.)

Department

School of Creative Arts

Abstract

Initial research In Australia Into attitudes of personnel Involved In the generation and realization of contemporary Music Theatre/Opera, revealed opinions that the Nineteen Eighties represented a period of consolidation for the genre In the wake of the tremendous advances made since World War 11. The author was concerned that this consolidation process was, In fact, harbouring 'backward-looking' attitudes and that new Ideas which would ensure the future existence of the genre were not being explored. Further research was undertaken In England to establish current opinions as to what makes artistically and financially viable Music Theatre/ Opera for audiences of today. This thesis Is concerned with Music Theatre/Opera as a multi-faceted art form and In this respect, the three major works discussed as examples of some of the new directions being taken outside of Australia, are viewed from different perspectives. "Akhnaten" (Glass) Is discussed In terms of two. different production styles within an overall view of the work's accessibility, while "Donnerstag aus LIcht" (Stockhausen) highlights the textual and musical Intentions of the composer In generating a non-collaborative work. "The Mask of Orpheus" (BIrtwIstle) concentrates on the artistic and financial problems associated with a Twentieth Century 'spectacle'.

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