Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Leonard Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti: Family Structure and Gender Roles in the 1950s
by Lackman, Kaylee Janae, M.M., California State University, Long Beach, 2018, 29; 10837196
Abstract (Summary)

It is uncommon for composers to write their own libretto for an opera. In writing his own libretto for Trouble in Tahiti, Leonard Bernstein took on the opera genre in a non-conventional way: with a text about a failing marriage. He used the unhappy marriage of his parents as source material for the libretto. The music of the opera highlights the tension of the marriage, including several duets in which the couple remembers a time of healthiness in their relationship. Bernstein uses the allegory of the unhappy couple to both illustrate the social expectation of a suburban family in post-war America and as a means to address gender roles by showing how each of the characters struggle to comply with the gendered social expectations of their parental and spousal duties.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Talberg, Jonathan
Commitee: Anglin, David, Fruchtman, Aaron
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Bob Cole Conservatory of Music
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 58/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Music
Keywords: Vocal performance
Publication Number: 10837196
ISBN: 978-0-438-41993-3
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