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date: 20 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Australian composer Helen Gifford’s Regarding Faustus (1983) is an innovative musical theater setting of Christopher Marlowe’s tragedy Doctor Faustus, with additional adaptation from Marlowe’s Tamburlaine the Great, verse by Marston and Shakespeare, Greene’s Historie of Frier Bacon, and Frier Bongay, and Australian indigenous ceremonial practices. Developing the piece for performance by tenor Robert Gard, Gifford makes effective use of dissonance, with pitched and non-pitched percussion, and pre-recorded chorus, oscillating between diegetic and non-diegetic sounds. Her libretto underplays the visceral aspects of the Faustus character, who damns himself yet still invites our pity. The work is distinctive in its intercultural scope and creative synthesis.

Keywords: Faust, Helen Gifford, musical theater, Regarding Faustus, Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus

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