Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Conservatory of Music

First Advisor

Dr. Lucas Underwood

Second Advisor

Thomas Haynes


Foreword to Aria Da Capo

The libretto of the opera is a verbatim setting of Edna St. Vincent Millay's one act play "Aria da Capo." World events, especially World War II and the current Korean War influenced the choice of this timely, yet timeless play. Miss Millay's death occurred during the composition of the opera. She never knew, therefore, of the composition or performance of her play as an opera.

The form of the opera is that of the "da capo" aria. he form, of course, was determined by the play which ends exactly as it started. Thematic material consists mainly of two themes: the opening theme or Scene I (Pierrot and Columbine's scene) and the opening theme of Scene II (the Shepherd's scene). All of the significant motivic material used in Scene I is derived from the opening theme of that scene. In the shepherd's scene, material derived from both of the above mentioned themes is used.

The musical style of the two scenes is intentionally contrasting. In Pierrot and Columbine's scene an attempt was made to express their characters by means of a pseudo-popular music style which is rhythmic and lively but has no real depth of emotional feeling. In the shepherd's scene an attempt was made to express their changing characters by means of a very simple style eventually evolving into a more complex style.

In order to make the score more easily understood all the orchestrated parts are written in concert. For the same reason all directions to the musicians are given in English instead of the usual Italian.

The opera was produced under the direction of Dr. Lucas Underwood. Thomas Haynes, musical assistant to Dr. Underwood, deserves special recognition, not only for his excellent job of conducting the opera, but also for designing the set and staging the opera and for his untiring efforts in rehearsing the cast and the orchestra.





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