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The Musical Stage. Chapter 8. Early History of Musical Theater. Musical rituals date back as far as 30,000 B.C.E. Music song and dance combine to create Dionysian festivals in early Greece Elizabethan theater included music Opera was developed in Italy in the late seventeenth century.

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early history of musical theater
Early History of Musical Theater
  • Musical rituals date back as far as 30,000 B.C.E.
  • Music song and dance combine to create Dionysian festivals in early Greece
  • Elizabethan theater included music
  • Opera was developed in Italy in the late seventeenth century
  • Many say his operas have never been surpassed.
  • Signature style: melodious arias alternating with dialogue, sometimes spoken but mostly sung. This solved the problem of telling a dramatic story in song.
  • Sung dialogue is called recitative
  • The combination of recitative and song is called singspiel
    • Singspiel is sometimes hard to listen to because it is not melodious like a song
  • Libretto- the lyrics and recitatives of an opera
The Marriage of Figaro

Verdi and the Romantic Opera

  • Most popular of Mozart’s work
  • 2 lowly servants outwit the master of the house
  • Finale is “what it would sound like if God could sing!”
  • Romantic movement protests restraint
  • Verdi’s operas are melodramas with music
  • Characters are thwarted by social restrictions
richard wagner
Richard Wagner
  • Romanticism fostered nationalism (Germany)
  • Wanted to create true music-drama that would be in the same class as Sophocles and Shakespeare
  • Gave Germany a mythology
operetta vs opera
Operetta vs. Opera
  • Spoken dialogue moves the play forward but is continually interrupted by arias
  • Shortened spaces between songs
  • Many songs, 2 dimensional characters
  • All or most of dialogue is sung
  • Desire to create works that are elegant and noble
  • Heavier than operetta
  • More complicated
other famous operas
Other Famous Operas
  • Porgy and Bess
  • Amahl and the Night Visitors
  • Candide
  • Sweeney Todd
  • The Ghost of Versailles
broadway musicals
Broadway Musicals
  • Of Thee I Sing
  • Satire of Presidential Politics
  • Candidates will do anything to win the election
  • Pal Joey
  • Deepened the Broadway musical and deserves to be called a musical play
  • Led to others wanting greater depth in the genre

West Side Story

  • About the courtship of a cowboy and a farm girl
  • Includes folk dance, ballet
  • Took musical stage in a startling new direction
  • Modernization of Romeo and Juliette
  • Arias have become classics
  • Rival gangs of New York
  • Egyptians took part in elaborate dance ceremonies
  • Greece marked the beginning of dance as an official form of public entertainment
  • Dance awakens the Dionysian spirit in all of us
  • Known as the premier form of dance art
  • Athletic, yet graceful
  • Classical ballet often tells a story, but is not needed
  • Giselle
  • Tchaikosvsky-Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker
modern dance
Modern Dance
  • Breaks with classical tradition
  • Starts with classical moves but then adds in athleticism, complex variations
  • Mikhail Baryshnikov- famous modern dancer/now actor
famous modern dance choreographers
Famous Modern Dance Choreographers
  • Martha Graham
  • Agnes De Mille
  • Michael Bennett
  • Jose Limon
  • Twyla Tharp
folkloric dance
Folkloric Dance
  • Rooted in time honored values and customs
  • Usually vastly different from formal dance, requires little or no training
native american traditional forms
Native American Traditional Forms
  • Potlatch-Northwest tradition where community members come together to feast and dance to celebrate special occasions
  • Bear Dance-far west, reenactment of a ceremony ritualizing the hunt
  • Powwow-plains, sequence-grand entry, signing of anthem, series of dances representing life activities (planting, harvest, courtship, marriage)
mexican folkloric ballet vs asian dance
Mexican Folkloric Ballet vs. Asian Dance
  • Highly trained dancers
  • “Set Pieces”-Stag Dance, love, marriage, cycle of life
  • Joyous mood, colorful
  • Every dancer is a monk
  • Black metal caps adorned with peacock feathers, purposely monotonous to still emotions
  • Next dance, colorful silk because they believe color can be experienced temporarily

Spanish, from Gypsy songs

4 females, 2 males, 2 guitars and 2 singers