Images of distant lands : a comparison of the compositional techniques used by Georges Bizet and Felicien David to portray the exotic in their operatic works

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Barnes, Jennifer M.
Platt, Heather Anne
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Thesis (M.M.)
School of Music
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Georges Bizet (1838-1875) is best known for his operatic masterpiece, Carmen, but his other works have received much criticism. Much of this criticism stems from the belief that his work was simply derivative of other composers, including the father of French musical exoticism, Felicien David (1810-1876). However, there has never been any formal study comparing the two composers' compositional techniques.The purpose of this study is to compare the approaches that both Bizet and David took to portray the exotic in their operatic works, and to categorize any differences or similarities between the two composers' styles. The operas chosen for this study include Bizet's Les Pecheurs de perles (1863) and Djamileh (1872), as well as David's La Perle du Bresil (1851) and Lalla-Roukh (1862). Detailed historical background and musical analysis will be provided for each opera.