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date: 16 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on the obstacles that hindered some composers from attempting composition of opera, or giving up after a single failed attempt. Several composers, often from a Protestant surrounding, such as Bach and Brahms, stayed “non-opera” composers. Others, like Schumann, felt drawn to the genre but failed, while a third group, for example Weber, grew up imbibing theater and thus succeeded in opera quite naturally. The laborious development of American opera in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries raises the awareness for operatic conditions: In spite of the ventures of prolific turn-of-the-century composers like Paine, Beach, and Chadwick, none became the American composer of opera. In Boston, otherwise a musical hub, religious and moral anti-stage sentiments had hindered the emergence of an opera life and of operatic networks. Consequently, Boston-affiliated composers hardly gained experience with stage genres and lacked both role models and integration into networks.

Keywords: American opera, non-opera composers, Protestant, Boston, Chadwick, Bach, Beach, Brahms, Paine

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