Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


School of Music

Document Type



Dog Days is a modern, American opera based in a war-torn, post-apocalyptic United States of America. Written by internationally acclaimed composer David T. Little and internationally acclaimed librettist Royce Vavrek, Dog Days is told through the eyes of a 13-year old girl, named Lisa. This project serves as a performer’s guide to Lisa’s three arias. Chapter one provides a biographical sketch of the composer, David T. Little. Chapter two briefly describes the life events of Royce Vavrek, leading to the development of Dog Days. Chapter three provides the detailed process of how the opera was created, specifically the development of Lisa’s character. Chapter four provides music and textual analysis along with performance suggestions for Lisa’s first aria, “No Man In His Right Mind.” Within chapter five, analysis of the music is provided alongside specific performance practices regarding Lisa’s second aria, “Letter.” Chapter six provides a performer’s guide for Lisa’s final and most difficult aria, “Mirror Mirror.” With the use of amplification and alternate vocal mechanisms, Lisa’s arias differ from the normality of classical repertoire. It is the hope of the author that this document will provide information to help the success of performers while encouraging the emergence of Lisa’s arias within classical vocal repertoire.

Committee Chair

Moon, Sandra