SANCTUARY: An opera in one act; Analysis and narrative-memoir of the collaborative-compositional process
Devet, Katherine E.
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This dissertation consists of an original chamber opera, a piano reduction of the same, and discussion of the methodology and collaboration inherent in the creation of this piece. Sanctuary is an original, one-act opera written for soprano and baritone, accompanied by piano, woodwind quintet, and string quintet, using a one-act play of the same name as the libretto. The libretto, written by playwright Orada Lelanuja, has a somewhat non-traditional format and follows a couple working through issues in their marriage through a series of parallel but intertwined monologues. Capturing the emotional complexity of Lelanuja’s prose posed unique compositional problems, resulting in a through-composed piece where the text, rather than the harmonic movement, takes center stage. Despite the sometimes complicated harmonic material, enforced through tonality more by assertion than traditional relationships, there is a deliberate emphasis on ease of performance, especially in the vocal parts. This is done to make the final product accessible to musicians at a variety of levels as well as their potential audiences. The musical and compositional journey of this piece is discussed through an exploration of the narrative of its creation.