Investigating Mrs. Nolan: an exploration of G. C. Menotti's opera The Medium from a performer's perspective
AuthorBolton, Kerrie Ann
AffiliationVictorian College of the Arts
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
Access StatusThis item is embargoed and will be available on 2022-10-19.
© 2020 Kerrie Ann Bolton
The purpose of this study is to provide an insight into the preparation of a minor role for performance, specifically that of Mrs Nolan from Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera The Medium, whilst also hoping to demonstrate that small roles both benefit from and are deserving of thorough research. This study offers contextual information on the composer, with regard to his personal and musical influences, and an outline of the synopsis and background of the opera in question. It also investigates the social, cultural and musical climate in which The Medium was written with the intention of deepening understanding of Menotti’s compositional style, with specific regard to the musical and dramatic choices he made in order to create the character Mrs Nolan. With a view to understanding how Menotti creates and develops his characters, the score of The Medium is explored both musically and textually, with reference to the Russian actor and theatre director Constantin Stanislavski’s writings regarding character development and dramatisation, and conductor and author Donald Barra’s theories on musical analysis. In conclusion, the observations and discoveries from this investigation greatly influenced the dramatic choices made in preparations for the performance of the role of Mrs Nolan, whilst also supporting the argument that even minor operatic roles are deserving of and benefit from serious consideration and preparation. As a result of this study, the author was able to create a clear image of Mrs. Nolan’s physicality, her vocal tone and colour, as well as create justifications for her intentions, actions and her personal journey throughout this dramatic event. Reviews of the resulting performances of The Medium in June 2007 for Lyric Opera Melbourne at Chapel off Chapel Theatre have been included in the Appendix.
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