Maria Zaitun : The Journey from a Novel to Razak Abdul Aziz’s Opera
Prasetya, Stepanus Hanggar Budi
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The aim of this article is to analyze Western and Asian cross-cultural trends in music on the example of compositions by Razak Abdul Aziz (Abdul Aziz Razak) and Maria Zaitun’s opera. The main idea of Maria Zaitun’s opera is to explore the aesthetic cross-cultural issues and musical elements, as well as to redefine the role of the modern composer in the multiracial society of the 21st century. As a Malaysian composer, Razak is particularly interested in combining together various different musical practices in order to create composition combining contemporary techniques with his own personal style. Razak obtained his idea from a few short novels by Fatimah Busu titled “Perkembalian Seorang Maria Zaitun,” which was then transformed into an operatic work titled “Maria Zaitun’s Opera,” a chamber opera for 8 singers with 6 violins, 3 violas, 3 cellos, 2 double-basses, harps, 2 pianos, celesta, glockenspiel, vibraphone, xylophone, marimba and a set of drums. Additional percussion instruments include triangle, temple bell, bell tree, finger cymbals, hand cymbals, suspended cymbals, Malay gongs, tam-tam, glass chime, sand blocks, slapstick, wood block, temple blocks gedung, snare drum, tambourine, tom-toms and bass drum. There are eight types of choral sonorities: namely, 1st soprano, 2nd soprano, 3rd soprano, 1st alto, 2nd alto, 1st tenor, 2nd tenor and bass. Razak made a study of every page contained in Fatima Busu’s short novels in order to choose which sentences from the number are to be included into the libretto of his work.