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Opera "Treemonisha" is a cheerful snapshot of an African- American society which emerged during the time of slavery, through the work of a ragtime composer Joplin Scott. It is in the passionate style that was famous in the start of 20th century, it has been described as “piquant, charming….and deeply moving”, with the key basics of black folk songs and dances, comprising of a kind of spirituals, pre-blues vocals and a call-response style view. Although it comprises of a broad range of musical styles other than ragtime, Scott himself never refer considered it as such, it is sometimes wrongly considered to as a “ragtime opera”. The music style of opera “Treemonisha” is comprised of an overture and preface, along side with various other choruses, arias, recitatives, and a ballet (Chase & Gilbert, 1987).
In my opinion, I find Treemonisha to be “opera” by name only. It is much more of a combination of the well-entrenched American traditions of variety show, melodrama, minstrelsy and tab-show, all which are apprehended together by Scott marvelous music. For this reason, the accompaniment ideal should be offered by the guideline of twelve - part orchestra of that era.
The pre-modern Opera “Treemonisha” was of much more exaggerated scope as it depended on large choruses of strings in a contrapuntal way, accompanied with a huge deal of “wadding “ by the French low brass and horns. There is no sufficient evidence that Joplin Scott had planned all this in his mind; in reality all that survives of Treemonisha as mentioned by the 1912 vocal/ piano score are the instruments of undersized theatre orchestra which were then followed by horns, bassoons, tuba and oboes. Consequently research point out that Scott wanted this work to go round on the ordinary theatrical circuits. To make this so, Treemonisha had to be played by the standard pit-orchestras of that period.
The idea that Joplin Scott anticipated opera “Treemonisha” to be presented in an enormous “metropolitan opera “form is historically unsupported and purely romantic fantasy. Yet this concept was the foundation of the early production of the 1970s. But this is clearly a chance with the basic unassuming nature of work itself- much as putting up a superb impressionist water color into a huge, heavy, baroque frame (Chase & Gilbert, 1987). As practiced in the previous versions, Scott’s is considered merely as a curiosity. But historically right, in scale orchestra and staging, it would be guileless, attractive, but intensely moving part of the collection.