Revealing Masks: Exotic Influences and Ritualized Performance in Modernist Music Theater
W. Anthony Sheppard considers a wide-ranging constellation of important musical works in this fascinating exploration of ritualized performance in twentieth-century music. Revealing Masks uncovers the range of political, didactic, and aesthetic intents that inspired the creators of modernist music theater. Sheppard is especially interested in the use of the "exotic" in techniques of masking and stylization, identifying Japanese Noh, medieval Christian drama, and ancient Greek theater as the most prominent exotic models for the creation of "total theater."
Drawing on an extraordinarily diverse—and in some instances, little-known—range of music theater pieces, Sheppard cites the work of Igor Stravinsky, Benjamin Britten, Arthur Honegger, Peter Maxwell Davies, Harry Partch, and Leonard Bernstein, as well as Andrew Lloyd Webber and Madonna. Artists in literature, theater, and dance—such as William Butler Yeats, Paul Claudel, Bertolt Brecht, Isadora Duncan, Ida Rubenstein, and Edward Gordon Craig--also play a significant role in this study.
Sheppard poses challenging questions that will interest readers beyond those in the field of music scholarship. For example, what is the effect on the audience and the performers of depersonalizing ritual elements? Does borrowing from foreign cultures inevitably amount to a kind of predatory appropriation? Revealing Masks shows that compositional concerns and cultural themes manifested in music theater are central to the history of twentieth-century Euro-American music, drama, and dance.
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Defining Music Theater
The Multiplicity of the Exotic
Ritual and Performance
BORROWED MA5KS GREEK JAPANESE AND MEDIEVAL
The Masks of Modernism
Freedom in a Tunic versus FriezeDried Classicism Hellenism in Modernist Performance
The Uses of Noh
Medievalism and the French Modernist Stage
Orientalists and a Crusader
Partchs Vision of Integrated Corporeal Theater and LatterDay Rituals
Bitter Rituals for a Lost Nation Partch and Bernstein
God in Popular Musical Theater
CONCLUSION REMOVING THE MASKS
Masking the Human and the Misogyny of Masks
Music Theater Now
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actor aesthetic American ancient Greek argued ater audience Bacchae Becker Benjamin Britten Bernstein Bernstein's Mass Bewitched Bitter Music Brecht Catholic Celebrant century character choreographed chorus Christian Church Parables Claudel Cocteau composer contemporary Courthouse Park Craig created criticism culture Curlew River dance dancers Der Jasager Dion Dionysus discussion drama Duncan elements employed Euro-American example exotic models expression formance function genre Godspell Greek theater Harry Partch Honegger Ibid Ida Rubinstein ideal inspired Isadora Japan Japanese Noh Jasager Joan Kurt Weill Lehrstiick male mask mime modern modernist music modernist music theater movement music theater mystery play Noh play noted Noye's Fludde Oedipus Rex opera Orff Orff's Pentheus performing arts Persephone production religious Revelation ritual performance ritualistic role Rubinstein Saint scene setting sexual singing social sound specific spiritual stage Stravinsky stylized suggested theatrical tion total theater traditional twentieth-century University Press vocal voice W. B. Yeats Weill wrote Yeats's York