Baba Yaga: the Cyrillic Witch and Lockless in Life: two libretti

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Title: Baba Yaga: the Cyrillic Witch and Lockless in Life: two libretti
Author: Billings, Brian Carroll
Abstract: The translation of libretto is "little book ," and it is just that - a condensation of a drama in verse upon which is grafted musical embellishment which enriches the text for public consumption by magnifying its emotional high points . Yet the librettist , once championed as a poet of skill and insight , has become reduced to a figure who exists solely to fuel the ego and inspiration of his composer . The development of a musical production , however , is first and foremost collaborative . The librettist deals in characterization , plotting , and declamatory poetry while the composer provides evocative emotional ambience to the mix which readily enables the transportative powers of the plot for an audience . One element of the production does not succeed without the other . A librettist has the difficult job of creating an open form drama which must perfectly suggest musical ornamentation to complete its subtle sentiments ; he must craft a sturdy dramatic shell to house and hold an animating , musical force . My own attempts in this genre are twofold - a traditional operetta and a modern operetta . Baba Yaga : The Cyrillic Witch adapts the lore surrounding the Russian ogress into an investigation of the human need for belonging by humanizing her and investigating her sense of isolation . The text is dark and brooding with a well -structured plot and uplifting ending (the hallmarks of traditional operetta ) . Lockless in Life is more modern in that it abandons strict plotting in favor of a psychomachian story : a an battles internally for understanding of his place in life , his id , ego , and superego juxtaposing their sentiments in multiple vignettes in order to bring about insight . (This idea of juxtaposition of components stems from the structure of the modern combination novel , in which a number of short stories combine to reveal a larger trath or an overarching story . ) The differences between these libretti demonstrate the flexibility of the libretto as a literary genre . The "little book" can condense complex concepts such as societal rejection and personal paranoia into simplistic constructs that can be instantly identified by audiences , particularly once these constructs have been modified by music .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /21544
Date: 2003-05


Baba Yaga: the Cyrillic Witch and Lockless in Life: two libretti. Doctoral dissertation, Texas Tech University. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /21544 .

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