A Performer's Guide to the American Musical Theater Songs of Kurt Weill (1900-1950)
AuthorMorales, Robin Lee
Committee ChairRobinson, Faye L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractWith the broadening interest and popularity of musical theater studies in academic degree programs, more teachers of classical singing and students are meeting at the crossroads of conventional vocal study to broaden their skills in non-classical and musical theater techniques. Tracing back through the lineage of American musical theater, a fascinating example of vocal style emerges from the musical theater works of Kurt Weill. Weill's music exhibits operatic lyricism, jazz rhythms, and popular idioms but does not conform strictly to light opera, jazz, or popular music.In America, Kurt Weill was a successful musical theater composer by 1941 and was highly respected on Broadway. Simplicity and comprehensibility were his stylistic objectives in transforming operatic forms into a viable musical theater that would appeal to the greater public. His work in musical theater resulted in an extensive repertory of songs suitable for all voice types, one that was of considerable significance in the evolution of American theater and singing styles.Weill's American musical theater songs convey a communicative style that requires a technique grounded in the speech-based lyricism of celebrated jazz singers and singing-actors from musical theater's golden era (roughly 1927 to 1960). A deeper understanding of Kurt Weill's American theater songs will clarify the defining qualities of his musical style and suggest a more informed artistic approach for singers, teachers, coaches, and accompanists of musical theater repertoire.