From Sand to Glass: Approaching Philip Glass Operas Through Source Texts Carolien Van Nerom - VUB
Is it necessary to know what comes BEFORE the opera? As a literary scholar, I wonder about the narrative sources that inspire opera’s, but can such enterprises be useful to other fields as well? In this paper, I show how an analytical, musico-literary approach to Philip Glass’s minimalist operas can inform audiences and performers alike by going back to the source. Indeed, Philip Glass based many of his operas on literary works (e.g. by Coetzee, Kafka, or Ginsberg). He also composed three operas inspired by narratives by Jean Cocteau, namely Orphée (1993), La Belle et la Bête (1994), and Les Enfants Terribles (1996). The framework used to present this comparative analysis, stems from both the literary and the musical field. As such, it should become clear that narrative concepts can be illuminating in the musical field and vice versa. Admittedly, my ‘preposition’ towards my research questions is largely narratological, but I am convinced that intermedial analyses like this one can shape both performers and analysts.