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Music Drama

  Music drama was Wagner\'s name for his own operas: each was a gesamtkunstwerk in which music, words, design and production were in perfect balance, contributing equally to the overall effect and meaning. Wagner thought that he had invented a new stage form, but in fact the distinction was only with the more singer-dominated kind of Italian opera (of which some Rossini and Donizetti works are typical) and with operetta. ‘Music drama’ is a standard art form in many cultures of which Wagner was unaware—Indonesian, Japanese, Mogul Indian, for example—and is also a fair description of the operas of Monteverdi, Mozart, Gluck, Verdi, Puccini and a host of others, where we watch a piece of drama articulated through music, and not (as in certain Rossini and Donizetti works) merely a concert of arias and ensembles more or less linked by plot. KMcL

See also leitmotif.



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