UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

R. Murray Schafer’s Beauty and the Beast : a production analysis Hahn, Mari


Opera Breve is a chamber opera company that was initiated by three students during a seminar in operatic literature at the University of British Columbia. During the four years of its activities, the company has distinguished itself by producing one-act chamber operas in unconventional settings. Co-artistic director John Juliani has had a large influence on the company's presentational style, incorporating important aspects of his theatre aesthetic to the operatic art form. R. Murray Schafer's work Beauty and the Beast was chosen for the third main season, and represents the culmination of the company's artistic endeavours. The main focus of this dissertation is an analysis of Opera Breve's production of Beauty and the Beast. The opening chapter defines the genre of the one-act chamber opera, briefly traces its development to present day, and articulates why Opera Breve adopted the form as the mainstay of its repertoire. The second chapter describes the conception and artistic goals of the company. John Juliani's philosophy of free theatre and its application to Opera Breve's past productions are discussed. The third chapter presents Schafer's philosophy of Music Theatre as exemplified in his cycle, Patria. The influence of Jungian archetypes in the symbology of Beauty and the Beast, and its musical representation are presented. The fourth chapter focuses on Opera Breve's 2001 production, discussing performance issues that arise from the work. The synergy between Juliani and Schafer's philosophies, and the production's fulfillment of Opera Breve's artistic goals are summarized in the conclusion.

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