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Krylova A.

Radio opera today: denying death of the genre

The article explores the influence of sound technologies on music art. The radio was the reason for many discoveries in the sound technologies field, which had an impact on the development of experimentalism. Great composers of the 20th century became authors of many radio operas, thus making a significant contribution to that process. P. Hindemith, B. Britten, P, Schaeffer, L. Berio, G. Klebe, L. Nono, V. Giannini, B. Martinu, N. Rota, B. А. Zimmernmann, B. Maderna and others showed their interest in the genre. Their pieces established a specific format, making it possible to determine a new operatic genre, the radio opera. Among its special features are a simple plot, a sequential narrative, prevalence of the dialogue text structure with the spoken language, presence of the narrator’s commentary, lack of detailed characteristics, expansion of the music material by using noises, sounds of the environment, diverse ways of using the voice from singing and declamation, whispering and screaming to its electronic modifications. By the sixties genre experienced a peak point in the process of its growth and popularity. From that moment on, a rapid development of alternate audio-visual technologies resulted in spreading a myth of the radio opera’s death and its replacement by screen versions of the genre. Based on an analysis of the work by contemporary composers, the author denies it. The growth of the digital technologies had a huge impact on the radio, bringing the most important parameter of the radio theatre, its sound quality, to a new level. The author’s examination of radio operas by Amy Kohn and Robert Saxton proves that radiotechnologies didn’t become obsolete but improved, which creates new opportunities for the radio opera genre.

Key words

opera, audio technologies, radio opera, music theatre, Amy Kohn, Robert Saxton.

For citation

Krylova A. Radio opera today: denying death of the genre // South-Russian musical anthology. 2019. № 4. PP. 42–47.