A director's guide for staging the song cycle "Songs of Fields and Prairies" by Jocelyn Hagen
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This dissertation presents a director's guide for a dramatic staging of the song cycle, Songs of Fields and Prairies , by Jocelyn Hagen (b. 1980). Chapter 1 explores the relationship of the song cycle to twenty-first-century practices of staging musical works not intended for staged performance. Chapter 2 defines unstaged works and presented a historical survey of accounts of staged oratorios since the seventeenth century and staged song cycles since the nineteenth century. In Chapter 3 the author explores the relationship between the music and the poetry of Songs of Fields and Prairies . An analysis is made of the dramatic elements inherent in the music and poetry and the effect those elements have on the staging. Chapter 4 begins by defining terms commonly used for dramatic staging. The bulk of the chapter is a director's guide. The recto side consists of the musical score with dramatic action included above the music systems. The verso of the preceding page contains a diagram of the stage layout upon which the blocking described on the right side is plotted. The costumes used for each song are explored in chapter 5. This includes a description of historical events and dress for each era, as well as a detailed account of the fabrics and patterns used to construct the costumes. Chapter 6 contains explanations of the technical elements involved in the performances of the cycle. The author clarifies the lighting used by way of a light plot, a lighting instrument schedule, and a light cue sheet. The chapter also includes accurate information regarding the set properties and hand props utilized. Chapter 7 sets forth the argument that staged song cycles may be a viable option for singers' and music teachers' consideration; e.g., those singers who are not yet prepared for operatic or musical stage repertoire. This practice could also assist in the understanding of formal vocal music forms by an audience of twenty-first-century non-musicians, who respond readily to visual stimuli. Since staged oratorios were historically appropriate for school, church, and civic choirs, it is concluded that staged song cycles may be suitable today as a classical alternative to musical theater. Finally, the author states an expectation that this dissertation will inspire others to perform the works of living female composers, particularly Jocelyn Hagen.