Publication Date

2012-04-06

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2012-04-06

Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Department

Vocal Performance (Music)

Date of Defense

2012-03-26

First Committee Member

Donald Oglesby

Second Committee Member

Karen Kennedy

Third Committee Member

Paul Wilson

Fourth Committee Member

Carlos Conde González

Abstract

On May 4, 1953, William Schuman’s first opera The Mighty Casey, based on the Ernest Thayer poem Casey at the Bat, premiered at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Connecticut. While this debut performance and a subsequent portrayal of the work on the television program Omnibus in 1955 were critically unpopular, Schuman remained invested in the work’s success for decades to come. The composer consistently worked with individuals at G. Schirmer (the publisher of Casey), arrangers, editors, and conductors to rework the opera into: a four-hand piano arrangement of choral excerpts; a two-piano arrangement of the entire work; and a more critically successful cantata version of the opera (renamed Casey at the Bat), scored for symphonic instrumental forces. After discussing the relevant literature on The Mighty Casey, this essay examines the published editions, along with the work’s important premieres and recordings, and focuses on the unique aspects of each publication and performance. The document concludes with a discussion of suggested performance considerations for successful future productions. Ultimately, this paper aims to foster further study of the editions of The Mighty Casey, and to promote future performances of William Schuman’s unique composition.

Keywords

William Schuman; Mighty Casey; Bat; Baseball; Opera; Cantata

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