Date of Award
Doctor of Musical Arts
Mark Steven Ensley
This dissertation discusses the life and music of American composer Dominick Argento (born 1927), with a focus on his monodrama Miss Havisham’s Wedding Night. A biography is compiled primarily from the composer’s memoirs, Catalogue Raisonne as Memoir: A Composer’s Life, as well as from other sources. Argento’s and librettist Olon-Scrymgeour’s character depiction of Miss Havisham is analyzed, and compared to its original source, Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations. The monodrama’s libretto is then compared in style and choice of words to the original source. Further, an attempt is made at giving a short psychoanalytical insight into the character’s inner world. The history of origins of the monodrama, and its relation to Dominick Argento’s full-length opera, Miss Havisham’s Fire from 1979, as well as its revision from 1995, is then examined. Argento’s monodrama Miss Havisham’s Wedding Night is extensively analyzed for form, twelve-tone technique, harmony, melody, and characteristic stylistic features; further, a detailed examination of the composer’s sensitive orchestration is given. A Conducting Guide then discusses general challenges when preparing and performing an opera or a monodrama, and the ones specific to Miss Havisham’s Wedding Night. A detailed discussion covers conductorial challenges of the monodrama, and offers possible solutions.
dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Suetterlin, Kevin Frank Eric, "An Analysis and Conductors Guide to Dominick Argentos Miss Havishams Wedding Night" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1587.