New master’s student in musicology, Cody Norling, has won the National Opera Association’s 2016 Scholarly Paper Competition for “Puccini’s Grotesque West: Exoticism and Appropriating in La fanciulla del west.” He has been invited to read his paper at the NOA’s annual convention in Santa Barbara, California, in January 2017 and to publish his paper in its Opera Journal. Cody’s paper addresses American Indian depictions in Puccini’s Gold Rush drama, La fanciulla del west. In doing so, he highlights the opera’s two indigenous characters, Wowkle and Billy Jackrabbit, and compares their portrayal to the setting’s historical realities. He concludes that their text and music have little connection to the composer’s attempted authenticities but rather rely solely on a stereotyped exotic image.
Nathan Platte’s essay,”‘The Epic and Intimately Human’: Contemplating the Tara Theme in Gone With the Wind,” was just published in Music in Epic Film: Listening to Spectacle (Routledge, 2016). (https://www.routledge.com/Music-in-Epic-Film-Listening-to-Spectacle/Meyer-Lerner/p/book/9781315690025) In preparing this article, Platte visited three different archives: the Warner Bros. Archive at the University of Southern California, the Max Steiner Papers at Brigham Young University, and the David O. Selznick Collection at the Harry Ransom Center (University of Texas at Austin). By fitting together the archival pieces dispersed among these collections, Platte came to realize that “Hollywood’s best-known melody has a backstory of its own, replete with humble origins, daunting adversities, and startling transformations.” The essay has already been cited in Mark Richards’s ambitious study for Music Theory Online: “Film Music Themes: Analysis and Corpus Study.” (http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.16.22.1/mto.16.22.1.richards.html)H