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Comparing The Rake's Improvement and The Threepenny Opera Essay

Assignment id 1015502
Discipline Arts Entertainment
Assignment type Essay
Words 1106
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Comparing The Rake's Improvement and The Threepenny Opera Upon an initial hearing the collaborations of Auden-Kallman/Stravinsky in The Rake's Improvement and Brecht/Weill in The Threepenny Opera, the theory that there may be anything in keeping with both works might appear to need a great stretch out of the imagination. As the 1951 Rake's Improvement is obviously neo-classical, and Mozartian particularly, the 1928 Threepenny Opera is really as conveniently termed the precursor to the Broadway musical since it is usually termed "opera." Closer study of the collaborators' resources and motivations, nevertheless, reveal several impressive coincidences. Both operas attract upon eighteenth-century functions as their primary resources: The Rake's Improvement was conceived after Stravinsky noticed the 1745 William Hogarth print-sequence of the same name, and The Threepenny Opera can be an adaptation of John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, created in 1728. (Incidentally, Hogarth also painted a picture out of this enormously popular ballad-opera. ) the ballad-opera tradition is followed by The Threepenny Opera, in that it really is a number of songs interspersed with dialogue, not recitative. Each picture, as in The Beggar's Opera, is total alone, pertaining to the complete, however, not driving the actions of the plot always. Stravinsky's initial conception, though not realized, was to create "an Opera with definitely separated numbers linked by spoken (not sung) words of the written text, [...] in order to avoid the customary operatic recitative" (Griffiths 10). Brecht's libretto reads just like a Marxist manifesto, and even though The Rake's Improvement is in no way overtly Marxist, Auden's "most severe objection to Hogarth's Rake's Progress was predicated on his reading it as 'a bourgeois parable' [...] he approached Hogarth's pr...

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