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If It’s in the Bible, It Can’t Be Opera: William Bradbury’s Esther, the Beautiful Queen, in Defiance of Genre

If It’s in the Bible, It Can’t Be Opera: William Bradbury’s Esther, the Beautiful Queen, in... JuANiTA kArpF if it’s in the b ible, it Can’t b e o pera: William b radbury’s Esther, the Beautiful Queen, in Defiance of g enre Composer William b. bradbury wrote his sacred oratorio, Esther, the Beau- tiful Queen, in 1856. Thousands of performances took place in the u nited s tates during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the work became the most popular large-scale vocal score written by an Ameri- can. Almost immediately upon its publication, staged interpretations of this work rapidly gained public favor. The prevalence of such produc- tions raised sensitive issues that vexed u.s. cultural and religious life. performers, critics, audiences, clergy, and bradbury himself weighed in. raconteur eugene Wood (1860–1923) reflected upon the matter in 1906: bradbury did something which contributed more to the dissipation of the old fogy notion that we are here to attend to business and try to be good, than any other one thing. He composed “e sther, The b eautiful Queen.” it was all about Esther, and Mordecai, and the israelites, and that rapscallion of a Haman. being from the bible, it took the people off their guard, don’t you see? . . . There is acting http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Music University of Illinois Press

If It’s in the Bible, It Can’t Be Opera: William Bradbury’s Esther, the Beautiful Queen, in Defiance of Genre

American Music , Volume 29 (1) – Sep 21, 2011

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
ISSN
1945-2349

Abstract

JuANiTA kArpF if it’s in the b ible, it Can’t b e o pera: William b radbury’s Esther, the Beautiful Queen, in Defiance of g enre Composer William b. bradbury wrote his sacred oratorio, Esther, the Beau- tiful Queen, in 1856. Thousands of performances took place in the u nited s tates during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the work became the most popular large-scale vocal score written by an Ameri- can. Almost immediately upon its publication, staged interpretations of this work rapidly gained public favor. The prevalence of such produc- tions raised sensitive issues that vexed u.s. cultural and religious life. performers, critics, audiences, clergy, and bradbury himself weighed in. raconteur eugene Wood (1860–1923) reflected upon the matter in 1906: bradbury did something which contributed more to the dissipation of the old fogy notion that we are here to attend to business and try to be good, than any other one thing. He composed “e sther, The b eautiful Queen.” it was all about Esther, and Mordecai, and the israelites, and that rapscallion of a Haman. being from the bible, it took the people off their guard, don’t you see? . . . There is acting

Journal

American MusicUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Sep 21, 2011

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