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Representing children in opera

Peat, Richard (2007). Representing children in opera. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University)


This study is a survey of how composers have represented children in opera from the late nineteenth century onwards. Operatic roles for children are analysed from a primarily technical perspective, with those written specifically for children's voices presented alongside those intended for adults playing children; then the relative merits of each approach is considered. A chronological list of child roles can be found in the introduction. Chapter 1 evaluates the ways in which opera composers have approached writing for children's voices; extracts from monologues, dialogues, ensembles and solos with instrumental accompaniment are analysed. Chapter 2 explores methods by which composers have evoked notions of childhood; examples of songs, nursery rhymes, lessons, learning, scale, fantasy, and tantrums are discussed. Chapter 3 treats the musical representation of the notions of innocence and experience in children's roles. Chapter 4 offers the author's recent opera, I'm the King of the Castle. as a case study in its use of many of the notions explored in the preceding chapters.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Communication & Creativity > School of Communication & Creativity Doctoral Theses
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