Defining Music Theater

W. Anthony Sheppard

in Revealing Masks

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780520223028
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520924741 | DOI:
Defining Music Theater

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For much of the twentieth century, a good deal of compositional energy that might otherwise have been devoted to opera was redirected to the quest for new forms of theatrical-musical performance. Several composers who created relatively few operas, or none at all, composed numerous theatrical works of various sorts—staged works that fit neither the operatic nor balletic molds. Alternatively, the career of a composer otherwise committed to opera composition might contain a period of experimentation with new theatrical genres. A higher vantage point is required to appreciate the amount of compositional activity devoted to the theater in the twentieth century. The multitude of works that cannot easily be labeled “opera,” “play,” or “ballet” indicates the need for a broader and more flexible term, thus “music theater”.

Keywords: music theater; opera; theatrical performance

Chapter.  2828 words. 

Subjects: Applied Music

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