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Revealing MasksExotic Influences and Ritualized Performance in Modernist Music Theater$
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W. Anthony Sheppard

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520223028

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520223028.001.0001

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Ritual and Performance

Ritual and Performance

(p.15) 3 Ritual and Performance
Revealing Masks

W. Anthony Sheppard

University of California Press

Many works of music theater appear to exist between the religious and the aesthetic modes of ritual performance. These works are most often aesthetic rituals that aspire to or are intended to function as religious rituals, taking “religious” in the broadest sense to include more idiosyncratic forms of spiritual expression and belief. Thus, modernist music theater is a genre created at the margins of several performing art forms, a genre often arising between cultures, and one that repeatedly aspires to the liminal state of ritualistic experience. A crucial question concerning the ritualistic nature of much modernist music theater is whether ritual, properly so called, can be invented by an individual artist or whether it must arise from the processes of cultural tradition.

Keywords:   music theater, rituals, performing arts, artists, cultural tradition

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