View Full Version : Are Broadway Musicals high art?

April 8th, 2004, 11:38 AM
Of the 'Rent' and 'Cats' variety.

I'd say no.

What do you think?

TLOZ Link5
April 8th, 2004, 01:08 PM
Theater has never been the exclusive domain of the rich, case in point the performances of Shakespearea in 17th-century England. I've always seen it more as a sort of economic melting-pot, enjoyed by people of every status.

"High art" would be the opera or the ballet.

April 8th, 2004, 02:24 PM
Opera and Ballet weren't always "high art" either.

TLOZ Link5
April 8th, 2004, 05:46 PM
Opera and Ballet weren't always "high art" either.

They began as high art, though; that was their intention and they have generally stayed that way.

April 12th, 2004, 10:30 AM
better question. Define 'high art'

April 12th, 2004, 11:26 AM
I don't think musicals are "high art" in that most of them are there to make you feel deliberately happy.

"Oaklahoma" is not high art by any stretch of the imagination. It is Entertainment.

I think, possibly, musicals like Saigon and Mis may be considered more artistic due to the complexity of their pieces or the story they choose to represent, but even remotely considering Little Shop of Horrors as sophisticated, in ANY stretch of the imagination, is not right.

(BTW, what was the book of short stories, like "The Bakers Wife" and all that? Was that Shakespere? I even forget the title!!1 PHOO!!! Well, point being was that it was a raunchy tale that, even though written by a classic artist, is not considered "classy" today despite its age...)

April 12th, 2004, 05:02 PM
dbhstockton deserves a rebuttal. As a hybrid art form, opera has many progenitors. One early source is the "Camerata" -- a group of intellectuals who sought to recreate how they imagined ancient Greek tragedy to be (late 1500s Florence). Others revere Monteverdi (1567-1643) as the father of opera (Orfeo, 1607).

In Italy, opera was spread by travelling troupes and had great popular appeal. In France, opera developed as a strictly courtly spectacle. Remember, music, drama and dance were also found in liturgical performances as ways to teach the traditions of faith. Thus the early art forms were both sacred and profane, high art and low art (folk art). Those compositions that capture the human experience convincingly transcend the argument of high art v. popular.

[Re ballet: did people not dance before Louis XIV? Of course, but perhaps not in such a stylized form. From where does modern dance/ballet spring? -- the affectations of the French court or from the liberation of the human spirit?]

This is an argument for a rainy evening at a cafe. But I'd rather go to the theatre and -- damn the effete snobs -- enjoy the craft, skill and artistry of professionals. Too much "high art" is pretentious and devoid of skill; pretenders to the mansion. Excuse me, . . . anyone else like an expresso?

For further info: The Grove Concise Dictionary of Music: Opera (http://w3.rz-berlin.mpg.de/cmp/g_opera.html)

April 13th, 2004, 09:04 AM
Withstands the test of time.

So do films (filter out Jean Claude Van Damme, etc) evolve into high art?