Tippett’s Opera Analysis Essay

Introduction
It is crucial with these types of questions to fully establish what is meant within the question. Just because an opera receives a positive review, does not necessarily mean it made a significant contribution to the genre. In fact, throughout musical history and across all genres, many performances which are poorly received are the ones which make the biggest contribution. It’s about pushing the boundaries. Therefore, my main focus will be exploring whether Tippett’s Operas pushed the limits of music at the time. I also hope to discover if they had a significant effect on others composers of the genre, or whether there was minimal impact at all.

Acts within operas
This is only a small point, but just as crucial when it comes to…

Of course, the first question which therefore should be asked is why? As with many questions, there are a wide range of possible answers for this. It was certainly a piece which offered a different musical pallet when compared to earlier works, and indeed his earlier opera, A Midsummer Marriage. In fact, King Priam, according to one review was ‘far better controlled, both theatrically and musically’ . However, the same review continues by stating ‘It is not perfect’. To me, this is crucial. The critics did not regard it as a ground-breaking work, though they agreed it was better than his previous opera. With that in mind, can it be argued that outside of his own career, King Priam had a significant impact on opera? To add to the doubt, the day after its premiere, Britten premiered his War Requiem in the same location. The same reviewer (Andrew Porter), said about Britten’s work ‘In short, the work is a masterpiece’ . Although they are two different genres, it is important to realise that for both premieres, the audience would have been quite similar, and therefore quite likely many would have shared similar…

Rather intriguingly, his music style almost immediately alters for his future works, and all of his compositions between the two operas are in a very similar style to the opera King Priam. Firstly, the overall styles of both operas are completely contrasting. The Midsummer Marriage is a comedy with an invented story, whereas King Priam is a tragedy, which has its roots from a traditional story. It is possible to argue that this is almost a step backwards in terms of progression. Many 19th century (And indeed earlier) operas have their origins from poems, stories or myths, however, since The Midsummer Marriage was a completely original story, it gains a sense of uniqueness, despite the fact one review from the time described it as having ‘a close of obviously intentional resemblance to ‘The Magic Flute’.’ Whether or not this is truly the case, in contrast, King Priam is based off a traditional Greek myth, which is not a unique or original way of choosing a libretto. (Although composers today still use Mythology for operas, such as Birtwistle’s The…