After two decades of classes devoted to opera and art song, Dale Duesing now leads a class about the American Musical. Although best known for his opera roles which include many world premieres, Dale has performed in musicals since his earliest years as a Lawrence post-grad in Europe. His experiences confirm the generally accepted opinion that the musical is the most distinctly American art form. From the early influence of European operetta, the American musical flourished using music in the popular styles of the times to reflect American society and mores, ranging from Romantic melodies of the Gilded Age to hip-hop and rap tunes of today. In this class, we will explore the musical’s origins from an early post-Civil War production, developing through the well-known composer/lyricist pairs Rodgers and Hammerstein and Lerner and Loewe, and culminating in such contemporary artists as Sondheim and Miranda. As always, the class will include personal anecdotes, film excerpts and cherished recordings.
Dale Duesing ’67 received a Grammy in 1993 for his recording of Samuel Barber’s The Lovers with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, was designated Singer of the Year by Opernwelt magazine in 1994 and has been described by Le Monde de la Musique magazine as a singer who transformed opera, turning it “upside down” with his performances of Alban Berg’s Wo z z e c k. In addition to his singing , Duesing has been described as “one of the greatest actors on the opera scene” by Die Welt. In the past several years, Duesing has expanded his work to include stage direction. He was nominated in Opernwelt as Director of the Year for his direction of Il Viaggio a Rheims by Rossini at The Frankfurt Opera (Germany). Duesing was honored twice among the 10 Best Productions/Performances in Europe, once for his work as director for The St. John Passion by J.S. Bach and once for his performance in the title role of Sweeney Todd in Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd at the Nationale Reisoper Nederland (The Netherlands).