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Forschungsinstitut für Musiktheater (fimt)

Schloss Thurnau

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Musik - Stimme - Geschlecht

The trained singing voice implicates corporal, immaterial, gendered, social and individual dimensions and is the centre point of every operatic performance. Using manifold source material, the project, funded by the German Research Foundation, examines phenomenologies of the voice and changing conceptions of gender.

Project 1: Singing Voices in Italy 1600─1750Hide

The research project focuses on a differentiated description of baroque voice production. As base serves a general map of the repertory of the circa 600 singing voices with extraordinary success in Italy in the period from 1600 till 1750: high female and male voices (soprano - alto) and the rarer low female and male voices (contralto - basso). The analysis embraces the performance practice in Venice, the Papal States (including Bologna) and Naples as well as the singing voices of drammi per musica, intermezzi and oratorios. Characteristics as range, tone color, singing style will be described as vocal profiles. The preferred ones are varying as far as different states, years and places of performance are concerned. Proving the vocal profile’s dependency of the cultural context is another research project’s aim. The definition of the so-called baroque era includes both its complexity as its connective characteristics.  

Project 2: Singers and Roles. Conceptions of Gender in 19th Century OperaHide

The performance as an event is in the focus of the project. By reading sources concerning operatic performances (such as scores, reviews, letters, educational treatises, iconographic sources etc.) as well as singers′ role repertories or literary works, we intend to get insights into the interplay of the singers′ presentations of gender roles and their voice performances in the period between 1800 and 1920. We have chosen three singers who are questioning dichotomic gender constructions. Along with several castrati, musici or Wagnerian soprani the three singers Giovanni Battista Velluti (1780─1861), Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient (1804─1860) and Anna Bahr-Mildenburg (1872─1947) constitute the centre of the project.

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