OK, So What Is “New Music Theater”?

If it’s been produced at the Avignon Festival, the Munich Biennale, or the various Fringe Festivals from Edinburgh to New York, chances are it’s not opera or music theater but “new music theater.”

Diamanda Galás: The Extended Voice as Singing Id

Part exorcist, part Pentecostal channeler, part Antonin Artaud, part Tibetan monk chanting “om” sound-processed to glass-shattering decibels, the regal, Goth-like Galás in Imitation of Life is the incarnation of the mythological Lilith, the she-demon as singing shaman.

Of Henry Brant, Phil Spector, and 110 in the Shade

Mark this 2007 reality: younger audiences today have only known and experienced theater music piped through live-in-performance loudspeakers. They have no cultural or even physical memory of non-electronically mediated music in the theater.

A Musical House of Atreus in 1937 Beverly Hills?

It would seem that dramatizations of composers are stuck either with the low maudlinism of Hollywood biopics or the high metaphysics of Thomas Mann’s novel Doctor Faustus and Adrian Leverkühn, its fictionalized Schoenberg. But wait—author Joan Peyser demurs.

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