MARIAN WILSON KIMBER RecitingP arsifal: Opera as Spoken-Word Performanc e in America In March 1901 an article about the “society world” in the Chicago Daily Tribune reported, “Not much is heard of the sewing circles this Lent, but readings and Wagner recitals are numerous,” noting performances planned by two women at private homes. In Who’s Who in the Lyceum, a 1906 guide to the “great personalities” who were available as lecturers and musicians, the entries for a dozen individuals included Parsifal or Madame Butterfly in their repertoir These Chicago socialites and lyceum e. artists were not singers or directors of opera companies but elocutionists and dramatic readers. Their adaptation of major operatic works- for recit als that combined spoken word and musical accompaniment represented an unusual performance practice in the United States. Spoken recitals of opera, which began in the 1890s, were only a small portion of the widespread performances by elocutionists during this period. Most frequently taken up by those who already included music in platform performances, operatic recitation made up part of the r - eper toires of a select number of professional spoken-word artists, including a few, such as Amy Grant, who specialized in the practice.
American Music – University of Illinois Press
Published: Apr 3, 2020