Troubled authenticity amd the romanticized West: reevaluating Charles Wakefield Cadman's 1918 opera Shanewis

Update item information
Publication Type thesis
School or College College of Fine Arts
Department Music (School of)
Title Troubled authenticity amd the romanticized West: reevaluating Charles Wakefield Cadman's 1918 opera Shanewis
Date 2013-05
Description In 1918, American composer Charles Wakefield Cadman completed the opera Shanewis or the Robin Woman, which was featured during two consecutive seasons at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. It was the first American opera to receive the honor of a double run and was popular throughout the 1920s. However, the opera-and its composer-have since receded into complete obscurity, due partly to our increasing discomfort with the early twentieth-century treatment of American Indians. Cadman draws directly from American Indian musical sources in his construction of the score, quoting dictated native melodies and incorporating other musical elements readily associated with the continent's original inhabitants. He strives for authenticity and integrity in his representation of American Indians, but has been criticized for appropriating indigenous melodies and using them to present a stereotyped portrait of the "noble savage." To date, most studies of Shanewis have emphasized its historical novelty and role in the development of opera in the United States. The discourse has been heavily influenced by postmodern ideas about American Indian culture and racial identity in America. This thesis aims to expand the present field of scholarship to include a more critical approach. It questions the definitions of "authenticity" previously used to iv dismiss the work and suggests that Shanewis warrants analysis as a cultural artifact capable of providing unique insight into the debate surrounding Indian identity and public policy that raged between the Dawes Act of 1887 and the Indian New Deal of 1934. The introduction calls for a reevaluation of Shanewis and other coeval Indianist works. The next chapter provides a brief historical survey of the opera and its composer. The central chapters model the kind of analysis called for in the introduction and investigate notions of authenticity, racial representation, and gender relations within the work. The penultimate chapter addresses questions of authenticity in performance practice. The goal of this study is to unpack the complexities of American and Indian identity in the early twentieth century through an analysis of Shanewis as an authentic cultural artifact that both reflected public opinion and helped to create it.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject American Music; Cadman; Indianism; Opera; Shanewis; Tsianina
Language eng
Rights Management Copyright © Briawna A. Anderson 2013
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 1,965,580 bytes
Permissions Reference URL
ARK ark:/87278/s67m0pr1
Setname ir_som
Date Created 2013-05-22
Date Modified 2021-05-06
ID 195904
Reference URL
Back to Search Results