music drama

an opera having more or less continuous musical and dramatic activity without arias, recitatives, or ensembles. Cf. number opera.
[1875-80]

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▪ music-theatre concept
      type of serious musical theatre, first advanced by Richard Wagner (Wagner, Richard) in his book Oper und Drama (1850–51; “Opera and Drama”), that was originally referred to as simply “drama.” (Wagner himself never used the term music drama, which was later used by his successors and by critics and scholars.) This new type of work was intended as a return to the Greek drama as Wagner understood it—the public expression of national human aspirations in symbolic form by enacting racial myths and using music for the full expression of the dramatic action. Wagner's emphasis on opera as drama merely resumed and developed the ideas of Claudio Monteverdi and Christoph Gluck. He envisaged the disappearance of the old type of opera, with its libretto provided by a hack versifier, as an opportunity for the composer to make a “set piece” opera out of purely musical forms separated by a recitative.

      Briefly put, the new art form would be created by a single artist, who would write a poetic drama that should find full expression when it was set to a continuous vocal-symphonic texture. This texture would be woven from basic thematic ideas, or leitmotivs (leitmotiv) (“leading motives”); these would arise naturally as expressive vocal phrases sung by characters at crucial emotional points of the drama and then be developed by the orchestra as “reminiscences” in accordance with the expressive need of the dramatic and psychological development of the action. This conception found full embodiment in Der Ring des Nibelungen, a cycle of four operas first performed in 1876; the only variation from Wagner's theory was that the leading motives did not always arise as vocal utterances but were often introduced by the orchestra to portray characters, emotions, or events.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Music drama — Mu sic dra ma An opera in which the text and action are not interrupted by set arias, duets, etc., the music being determined throughout by dramatic appropriateness; musical drama of this character, in general. It involves the use of a kind of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • music drama — n. a form of opera, specif. as developed by Richard Wagner, characterized by a continuous flow of orchestral music, with an integrative use of musical themes (leitmotifs), and singing that is free from formal division into arias, recitatives, etc …   English World dictionary

  • music drama — /ˈmjuzɪk dramə/ (say myoohzik drahmuh) noun 1. that form of opera, as conceived by Richard Wagner, in which the music is used to develop the drama in a symphonic manner, without the use of formal divisions, repeats, etc., and in which themes,… …   Australian English dictionary

  • music drama — noun Date: 1877 an opera in which the action is not interrupted by formal song divisions (as recitatives or arias) and the music is determined solely by dramatic appropriateness …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • music drama — noun : an opera in which the action is not interrupted by formal song divisions (as recitatives or arias) and the music is determined solely by dramatic appropriateness compare leitmotiv …   Useful english dictionary

  • music drama — noun an opera governed by considerations of dramatic effectiveness, rather than by having a series of formal arias …   English new terms dictionary

  • music drama — mu′sic dra ma n. mad an opera having largely continuous musical and dramatic activity without arias, recitatives, or ensembles • Etymology: 1875–80 …   From formal English to slang

  • Leinster School of Music & Drama — Infobox University name =Leinster School of Music Drama established =1904 motto = Gan Ceol Gan Tir (Without Music Without Country) city =Dublin country =Ireland address =Griffith Campus South Circular Rd. Dublin 8 telephone =+353 1 415 0410… …   Wikipedia

  • Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama — Infobox University name = Royal Welsh College of Music Drama native name = Coleg Brenhinol Cerdd a Drama Cymru image size = 250px motto = established = 1949 type = Public staff = patron = HRH The Prince of Wales vice chancellor = students = 645… …   Wikipedia

  • Leinster School of Music & Drama — La Leinster School of Music Drama es una escuela de música perteneciente al Griffith College en la ciudad de Dublín, República de Irlanda.[1] Contenido 1 Historia 2 Ubicación 3 …   Wikipedia Español

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