SANCTUARY: An opera in one act; Analysis and narrative-memoir of the collaborative-compositional process



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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.



Opera, Composition, Collaboration, Compositional process