The operas of Michael Tippett : the inner values of Tippett as portrayed by selected female characters : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Music at Massey University, New Zealand
Sir Michael Kemp Tippett (1905-1998) was a British composer who wrote five operas. This dissertation explores the dramatic and musical presentation of five selected female characters, one from each of Tippett's operas: Sosostris (alto) The Midsummer Marriage (1955); Helen (mezzo-soprano) King Priam (1962); Denise (dramatic soprano) The Knot Garden (1970); Hannah (rich mezzo) The Ice Break (1977); Jo Ann (lyric soprano) New Year (1989). It is argued that each of the five selected characters portrays Tippett's inner values of humanitarianism, compassion, integrity and optimism. The dissertation focuses on certain key moments in each opera with an analysis of a central aria. Due to the writer's interest in the performance aspect of these operas, discussion centres on melody, the timbre of voice-types linked with instrumentation, rhythm, word-setting and the vexed question of Tippett's libretti.