Opera in the United States Part 1
The history of American music, particularly music of the American theater, the close dependence associated with the development of household and entertainment, “mass” music. The puritans, the first American settlers brought with them from Europe a very strict Church Psalms and a strict ban on any kind of secular music.
But religious communities of Quakers, Baptists, and German colonists in Pennsylvania was freely cultivated music-making in the Church and in the home. The Anglican Church also did not put obstacles in the way of musicians. The musical life of the Southern States, inhabited by the French and Italians, developed intensively. Boston, new York, Philadelphia was the largest musical centers in the middle of the XVIII century.
Historically such a position in American musical life, sacred music and home entertainment music “folk spirit” was a matter of local musicians and traditional European concerts and Opera houses remained in the hands of guests and performers.
American States had in the XIX century of the rich musical folklore formed of conglomerates and alloys of folk music of the many national groups of immigrants. Here with folk and Church music of the British Isles was presented to the national musical culture of all European countries but in addition, music of the Indians, blacks and Creoles from the Southern States.
Great value for the professional music in the United States had a tradition of German classicism (especially in one of the largest centers Boston), and later a great influence on compositional techniques and musical tastes had French impressionism. It is important to emphasize, however, that American music had to create their own, specific national and independent tradition in a practical, “everyday” genres earlier than in the high genres of “serious” music.
This circumstance has left its special imprint on the entire American music up to the present time. The most important and the most notable American contribution to the musical culture of the twentieth century was the jazz, and along with it the music public American, song and dance entertainment music, sometimes a very high artistic level, based on the material of the Negro and Latin American folklore, treated sometimes with the use of the latest music electronic funds.
The deep roots of American music, and American culture, rooted in the cultural-historical ground of Europe. Post romanticism European tradition in his works of such major American composers as Samuel Barber, Walter Piston, Roger sessions, Virgil Thomson, William Hanson. It is not surprising that the most prestigious American Opera “Metropolitan Opera” cultivates mainly European Opera art. It is proved by the repertoire of the theatre for half a century. National American performances in it are extremely rare.
However, in the musical culture of the US decided at the same time and is more typical of the national trend, based on the wealth of folk music of this country. Named the second trend is represented by works of Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, and especially George Gershwin.
The most viable, popular and active genre of musical theatre in the United States is today the musical (short form from the English name of the musical Comedy musical play). This genre of entertainment “easy” presentation play with dialogues, spectacular scenic design, dancing, singing (ensembles, choruses sometimes, but the main thing is the song called). Most often musicals hilarious Comedy plays in which the action, the plot serves as a compelling reason for deploying musical elements of the performance. The plot is typically associated with modern life or popular plots, taken from publicly available works of world literature and drama (Shakespeare, Shaw, O’neill, Holman).
Historically, the beginning of the musical dates back to the 60th years of the last century, when new York began to put pieces entertainment with music, dancing and extravagant stage effects. Type “musical” took shape around 1900 it was not a single scene of action. Elements submission (genre American folk theatre), vaudeville, operetta, ballet and revues were strung on any randomly chosen story rod. The musical as a genre had reached the self-reliance due to the fact that, over time, greatly increased the artistic level of the musical side of the performance and at the same time great artistic perfection and certainty of the genre specifics reached a literary text.