Humor in the performance of operetta is not limited to the literary dimension of the libretto. The music – or its absence – forms an essential dramaturgical interpretation of the libretto. It proves, however, to be challenging to balance the musical text, the lyrics and the spoken portions of the libretto in such a way that they reinforce each other.
From my experience as an operetta conductor, the interpretation of the music score is key to obtaining that balance.
This research project aims at defining humor techniques related to operetta music scores, using three Belgian Belle Époque operettas as case studies, and developing a proposition to operationalize these humor techniques within a contemporary narrative.