Note:This scholarly essay is part of a research project submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts in the School of Music. The project also involved the preparation and performance of two lecture recitals related to the essay topic.

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Title:Cultural blending in Korean opera: Love Letter by Uzong Choe
Author(s):Lee, JinUk
Advisor(s):Gunn, Nathan
Contributor(s):Stone, Sylvia; Carrillo, Carlos; Mattax Moersch, Charlotte
Department / Program:School of Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:A.Mus.D. (doctoral)
Subject(s):Korean opera
Uzong Choe
Love Letter
cultural blending
The Korean Creative Opera
Abstract:The world is becoming smaller. The Internet and the power of social and information media have received most of the credit for blending cultures together, but for centuries the arts have contributed to the blending of people’s behavior, ideology, and way of life. Love Letter by Uzong Choe (b. 1968) was first performed in 2010. The opera is a powerful blender of cultural norms — in this case Western musical elements with Korean tradition — and it also appeals to the Korean audience’s sentimentality for the Old World. Choe sets the characters in ancient Korean culture with modern Western musical elements such as jazz. This paper sets out the scope and importance of this project as framed by the history of Korean and European opera in Korea, research objectives, and Choe’s biography. The body of essay presents an overview of the cultural blending in Love Letter and analyzes the drama and music in this context. Choe desires to build bigger audiences for Korean opera. He succeeds at gathering a new audience by successfully appealing to their emotions and brings new excitement into Korean opera by blending traditional instrumentation, dance, and performance with the familiarity of modern Western music.
Issue Date:2020
Publisher:School of Music, College of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 JinUk Lee
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-05-06

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