Granted biennially to encourage scholarship in the disciplines of music, theater, dance, literary criticism and history addressing music theater since 1900 (including opera), the Kurt Weill Prize returns in 2021 with a new wrinkle. Past Prizes have generally recognized one book and one article per cycle. This year, after careful consideration, the Prize panel decided to award three article prizes and declined to award a book prize. The articles:
Ebright, Ryan. “Doctor Atomic or: How John Adams Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Sound Design,” published in Cambridge Opera Journal 31.1 (March 2019)
Magee, Jeffrey. “Whose turn is it? Where Gypsy’s Finale Came from, and Where it Went,” published in Studies in Musical Theatre, 13.2 (June 2019)
Pistorius, Juliana. “Inhabiting Whiteness: The Eoan Group La traviata, 1956” published in Cambridge Opera Journal 31.1 (March 2019).
The panelists had much to say about each winning article. Some samples:
Ebright: This article opens up new pathways of understanding and reinvigorating the way we think about a much-discussed genre. It is already making a splash for helping define a new arena of study: sound design in opera.
Magee: The structure of the article is ingenious—all of the “Turns” for the author, lyricist, composer(s), actors, and even the arguable progeny of “Rose’s Turn” with references to the big numbers of Follies, Company, Assassins, and Sweeney Todd in “Sweeney’s Turn.” With a seemingly modest focus on one number, this article opens up the worlds of musical theater through its sources, analysis, and compelling interpretation.
Pistorius: In its reframing of the way opera was consumed in a particular place and time, this tightly-argued study reveals unexpected insights into operatic production beyond the European centers of power. Her archival research is very impressive, and given the debates about race in the casting of opera, this essay makes an invaluable contribution to the field.
Nominations for the next Prize will be accepted until 30 April 2023. Click here for details.