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The librettist's adaptation of source in collaboration with the composer

Strickson, Adam John (2014) The librettist's adaptation of source in collaboration with the composer. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This practice-led investigation explores strategies for addressing extreme events drawn from a contemporary context through the collaborative process of composing opera. In particular, the thesis examines possibilities for managing the emotional impact of such work on the audience through looking beyond the Western tradition at the aesthetics of Japanese Nō theatre and the haiku. It explores the differing functions of words and music, and posits suggestions towards a method of composition designed to develop a more considered, thinking relationship between the members of the audience and the performed opera, where they habitually 'experience intense emotional narratives without being aware of what is at stake, thus without seeming to be accountable' (McClary, in Clément, 1989, xiv). As an exemplum, the author examines the Church Parable, Curlew River, by Benjamin Britten and William Plomer, a collaborative precedent based on the Nō play Sumidagawa, depicting a mother's grief after her child is kidnapped into slavery. The process of this collaboration and the relationship between the form and content of the work are analysed to identify how it has influenced the adaptations completed during the period of research. The investigation has included three collaborations with composers and musicians:  Red Angel, an adaptation of Yasuzo Masumura's 1966 film of the same name as a full length opera set in the Sudanese Civil War of 1991–92, with a full score for scenes 1, 2, 9 and 10 composed by Ayanna Witter-Johnson.  Green Angel, an adaptation as a chamber opera of Alice Hoffman's novella for teenagers written in 2002, the year after 9/11, composed by Dr Lauren Redhead.  I am the ferryman, a meditative film that explores the relationship between words and music in Benjamin Britten's and William Plomer's Curlew River made in collaboration with film maker Lucy Bergman and 'Our Liberated Winter' (Simon Prince – flute, Robin Bowles – piano).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
ISBN: 978-0-85731-948-7
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > Performance and Cultural Industries (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Music (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.632582
Depositing User: Leeds CMS
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2014 14:58
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2018 13:47
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7594

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