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Opera productions of Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, the American years, 1958--1987

by Bendikas, Kristina

Abstract (Summary)
Jean-Pierre Ponnelle (1932 - 1988) has been internationally acclaimed as one of the leading opera directors/designers of this century. He was a multi-faceted artist who fused a high degree of musical knowledge with a boundless theatrical imagination. The force of his conceptual designs for ballets and spoken plays eventually Led him to adopt the role of director for operas on stage and film. As a director he worked with the leading conductors and singer-actors of his day in almost every major opera house in the world. The range of his successes covered an enormous range of operas representing every period, genre and style from Monteverdi and Rossini to Wagner and Strauss. Ponnelle was instrumental in reimtating the seria operas of Mozart into the active repertoire and was a formidable champion for new works such as Reimann's Lear and Troades. The scope of this study encompasses operas that Pomelle staged in the United States, but also indudes many references to his productions in Europe and to his opera hs. Since the works examined do not represent the totality of the directofs accomplishments, this study does not purport to be exhaustive. However, in choosing the productions the writer considered those that were most representative of his style and which had the greatest critical and popular impact. The principal argument of this dissertation is that Ponnelle's productions were noteworthy for the intrinsic role which music played in their conception and realization. The first chapter acquaints the reader with the multi-faceted artist and his repertoire. The second introduces the main points of his musical methodology and includes a discussion of his ideas against his practice. The remaining chapters analyze representative stage productions and films, with an emphasis on how he utilized music in both design and staging.
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Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/1999

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