Chapter

Toward a Theory of the New Music Theater

Eric Salzman and Thomas Desi

in The New Music Theater

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780195099362
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199864737 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195099362.003.0025
Toward a Theory of the New Music Theater

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Music theater may be a process or a product. Works are rarely static and the process begins from the first development of the piece and continues through its performance history. Beyond the text is the meta-text, which may be defined as interpretation. The intentionality of a performance may be more important than even the libretto or the score in understanding the work or the performance. The axis of interpretation, improvisation, and co-creation differs for every music-theater project and brings into question issues of authorship between collaborators. Works are usually created with the image of an ideal audience in mind. There is almost always an auteur, not necessarily the composer, who is the central voice. The score, not the libretto, is traditionally the essential or idealized underlying text, but in many contemporary works it loses its authority. Timing or musical dramaturgy may exercise control over the mise en scène, but other elements may be equally important.

Keywords: co-creation; authorship; collaborators

Chapter.  13734 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Opera

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